Encouragement For This Season of Adjusting

May 29, 2020

June is fast-approaching, which marks another month of entering into unknowns, changed plans, and different rhythms than we expected to have this summer. As a RedeemerKIDS staff team, we feel the weight of what parents especially have been asked to carry. Many of you are feeling weathered by all of the cancellations and shifting the past few months have held as our city has placed, and now lifted, restrictions due to COVID-19. As we step into another month of Sundays online as a church family, our team is eager to encourage you in this season of adjusting.

SUNDAYS AS A FAMILY

Our church body consists of many different “types” of families -- biological, blended, older kids, younger kids, two-parent households, single-parent households, multi-generational households, and more. We’ve heard from families who want to sit down and watch the livestream with their children, and families who have focused on utilizing our Family Worship Guide at a different time of the day. We want to encourage you here: there is no “right” way to do a Sunday. Different families have different routines and rules. What works for your neighbor, your small group leader, or your relatives may not work for your family, and that’s okay! We’ll share a few practical tips and starting points, but want to encourage you to feel the freedom to find what works best for your family.

  1. Worship as a family at the beginning of the livestream. Engaging in worship together is a great start to a church-from-home Sunday routine! Watch the livestream and sing the songs led there, or create a playlist for your kids that is more age-appropriate and physically engaging. Our Family Worship Spotify playlist is a great resource for this. You can even play the livestream to create the worship environment, then mute and play more upbeat music for younger kids to enjoy. If you have instruments or noise-maker toys, have those available for kids to play with as they engage in worship with you!
  2. Children 7 and under: Separate the livestream from your family worship time. Our livestream is a great way for grown-ups to engage in our typical service from home. On the other hand, our kids are used to a more fast-paced experience of shorter activities, moving around the classroom, and engaging with peers their age. Our team puts together a Family Worship Guide each week, posted here on the blog with a lesson from scripture, songs to sing, activities to do, and discussion questions for each age group (toddlers through adults). We want to challenge you to shift your perspective of family worship time from simply watching the livestream with littles, to setting aside intentional time to walk through the Family Worship Guide together. Transform Sunday breakfast time to family worship time, or do the activities and questions during dinner while kids are contained in one space with you. Watching the livestream with the other grown-ups in your household once kids are in bed, or during naptime, can help you focus on the sermon while making sure your kids are pressing into discipleship and worship at home, too.
  3. Children 8 and up: Provide something age-appropriate for your child to interact with during the sermon. If you’re planning to watch the livestream together, it’s important that your child is engaged in a way that meets their developmental level. Sitting still for a 40-minute sermon is an extremely high expectation for a child below mid-elementary age. Rather than pushing children to do something that is above their developmental ability, try setting up an activity invitation fit to your child’s interest so they have something to keep hands busy while the livestream is on. Art materials, Legos, or other STEAM activity supplies are great options. As kids are working away on their own “project,” they’ll be set up for better success to stay in the same room and listen alongside you.

Below are three key ways we’d love to challenge you as you continue thinking through what Sundays (and really any day) will look like for your family in the weeks to come.

RIGHT-SIZING EXPECTATIONS

We, as parents, are quick to place too high of expectations and requirements on ourselves and our families in this season. We’ve heard from many who are anxious that your kids will fall behind academically, socially, and spiritually as things have shifted from in-person to online in so many facets of our day-to-day lives. One of our biggest desires as a staff is to encourage you in this way: these “new things” are not meant to replace the “old things.” There is freedom in reminding yourself that virtual learning is not a direct replacement of an 8-hour school day. Neither are our Sundays online meant to directly replace the church coming together in a communal worship experience, while our children are spending time with their peers learning about the Gospel at their level. There is something categorically different about “attending” a Sunday service via livestream with your entire family, rather than sitting with your friends or your spouse in the sanctuary while your child is checked into RedeemerKIDS. This new Sunday rhythm, and the life we’re living in the days between, should challenge our expectations for ourselves, our children, our families, and our neighbors. We are confident that challenge is something God has asked us to press into, re-evaluate, and endure as a church.

Our Sunday classrooms in RedeemerKIDS are formatted to be age-appropriate in schedule, activities, and teaching so that kids are getting the most out of each week’s time. Our toddler classrooms do every component of their scheduled class time in different locations around the room; they aren’t confined to the same space for more than 10 minutes. Our elementary classrooms also rotate within their spaces, shifting activities and engagement styles and volume levels and conversation repeatedly within a one-hour timeframe. These schedules and classroom models exist for a reason: to meet kids exactly where they are. We call kids up to higher things, to deeper understandings of who Jesus is, to memorizing scripture when they can’t even read yet and learning songs and stories that we pray stick to their heart and minds for decades to come. But we are also realistic with our expectations of what a 2, 6, or 10-year-old can handle on a Sunday in our spaces. When we right-size our expectations, we create a space where kids flourish in their social-emotional skills and understanding of who God is. Volunteers grow in leadership, empathy, and ability to communicate the gospel in ways kids are captivated by. Our staff team grows in flexibility, joy, and passion for what we do. And we all grow in a deeper knowledge of God’s Big Story and what that means for our small stories. These right-sized expectations bring a light and beauty to RedeemerKIDS that wouldn’t exist if we aimed too high, expected too much, or pushed your kids into spaces they developmentally are not capable of handling just yet.

What would it look like for your family to re-evaluate your expectations in this season? What would it look like for you to re-evaluate what your Sunday rhythms are and ask yourself, is this expectation developmentally appropriate for my child and what they are capable of as they are adjusting to a new type of Sunday, too? Or is it possible that I need to right-size these expectations for my family?

What would it look like for you to invite God into the places where exhaustion and bitterness has grown and ask him to instead plant seeds of joy and love for one another? What would it look like to find the sweet spot between calling your children up to higher things and meeting them exactly where they are in this moment, on this day, at their age? Our prayer is that our kids grow in confidence as independent thinkers and beloved members of God’s family, while we grow in confidence as parents who have been entrusted with the deep privilege of training this child up in the way they should go. What a gift it is to exist in that space!

SIMPLICITY & CONSISTENCY

Kids thrive in consistency -- which has been hard to come by in the past few months as coronavirus has created massive life changes for all. As you try new methods of engaging in family worship, spending time together during the week, empowering the little people in your home to complete specific tasks or grow in new skills, we want to encourage you to stick with it. Kids need to do something over and over and over before it starts to feel comfy for them, which tends to be how we function as adults too. When we try a new way of doing family worship or a new morning routine for our kids, we have to try it again and again and again before we’ll really know if it will or will not work for our kids. Things may seem disastrous on the first go-round, but stay the course! Consistency is key, especially in this season. We’d love to challenge you to make small changes, simple little things one at a time, rather than overhauling the entire big thing. We’ll change that old saying a bit… if at first your family doesn’t succeed, give everyone another chance, and another, and another, before trying a different new thing. It’s no wonder our toddler friends love to exclaim “DO IT AGAIN!” anytime we blow bubbles in the classroom, do a silly dance, or make a funny noise. They love when we do it again and again and again, and their brains learn best through that consistent, simple, repetitive choice.

GIVING GRACE

You did it! You made it through two full months of virtual learning, working from home, job changes, daycare closings, and so many other unforeseen circumstances. As you step into this summer as a family, we want to encourage you to give grace to every member of your family, including yourself. We’ve walked through week after week of adjustment after adjustment, and this summer will likely continue to be more adjusting as the weeks progress. Our team has been so encouraged and challenged by the hard work each of you has put in to help your children, your spouse, your neighbors, your small group in this season. You have had to face unforeseen, sudden change as you continue to keep your family afloat, relying on God to sustain you, to bring patience, to bring endurance as you continue to run the race. We are praying those same things alongside you, and for you. As you right-size expectations and press into simplicity and consistency, remember that the grace your Father has poured out on you continues to flow in abundance, even now. He sees you and he is with you. He is not a Father who stares down in disapproval, wagging his finger at us and demanding perfection. He meets you exactly where you are--where your family is--and offers exactly what you need: more of himself and his presence. We are praying that this next season of summertime would be a time where your heavenly Father reveals that presence and that grace in new and deeper ways.

Recently Added

We exist to cultivate communities of transformed disciples who live for the glory of God and the good of the city.

alarmfacebooksync alarmfacebooksync