– By Jamie Tressen, Kids Pastor

Everybody is talking about the Corona Virus. It’s on the news, social media, everywhere! Everyone is talking about it… but are YOU talking about it with your kids?

As a Dad of 3 kids myself, never before have I had to help my kids understand concepts such as social distancing, fear/anxiety around sicknesses, quarantines, panic buying and toilet paper hoarding! These are uncharted waters and whatever your feelings may be around such things, there is no denying that our families are being impacted.

All kids (all people actually) deal with worry. Worry is natural. People worry about illnesses, finances, a big test or school project. However, did you know that even before all the talk around Corona Virus that 1 in 4 kids deals with anxiety? That is 25% of all children!

So what’s the difference between worry and anxiety? Very simply put, I would define anxiety as more of a regular, or consistent, state of worry. Worry can come and go, but anxiety sticks with you like a piece of chewed gum to a sneaker, yuck! It’s a feeling of worry we carry around with us, even though we wish we could just wipe it off on the grass.
So what do we do? How can we as parents, Christian parents, lead our kids and families through these uncertain times? How do we respond if, or when, our kids experience worry or anxiety?

I’ve thought of 3 super practical approaches to addressing anxiety in our kids that I’d like to take a look at together:

  • Talk about it honestly. – Talk to your kids about the Corona Virus. Ask them about how they are feeling or if they have any fears or worry associated with it.
    • Ask them what they’ve heard at school or on the news and how that makes them feel.
    • Share how you are feeling about things and how you have been impacted (if appropriate). Your transparency can actually help your kids feel more comfortable about sharing their true feelings, even if they are holding in any worry or anxiety.
    • Make it real – Share… how have you seen God be faithful in your life in the past? What difficult challenges has He helped you overcome previously? How are you clinging to him right now? Talk about these things honestly with your kids.
  • We can battle worry and anxiety with TRUST!
    • Proverbs 3:5 tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with ALL of our hearts and to lean not on our own understanding.”
      b. “Trust is the antidote to fear or worry”. – Sissy Goff
      c. Help make Jesus tangible. Share statements like…we can trust Jesus because:

      • we know his heart
      • we’ve seen his faithfulness in the past
      • we see his faithfulness throughout scripture
      • He’s given us future promises – Communicate these truths to your kids to help make trusting Jesus a reality.
    • As parents, we are trusted figures to our kids. Let’s point our kids to trust Jesus, the only one who is in complete control of all things… including our worry’s, fears and anxiety.
  • Turn to God’s word for answers.
    • We think Biblically about the world around us. A Biblical world view is the lens by which we interpret information. We filter our experiences by looking at what God’s word has to say about them.
    • Turn to passages such as Proverbs 3:5 and Phil. 4:6-7 (Do NOT be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.)
    • If you need ideas to help lead your kids in this area, we have Bible-based resources on our GCKids webpage for you to engage with. Visit our site, keep in touch! (GraceChapel.org/GCKids)

It is our goal as a ministry to equip parents with tools and resources to lead your families well by leading your kids to find and follow Jesus. Remember that just like our church, our Kids Ministry is still here, we’re just doing things differently. Thank you and God bless.