Getting back to school or routine: Facebook Live

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21 Sep 2020
This Facebook Live session looked at how we can prepare our children for returning to school or routine and how to help them with any issues they encounter as they do that.

Under-5s

  1. Remember that this is a big change for them - they are not necessarily slotting back into something they remember. Try to think about how your child handles change rather than just trying to get back to the way it was. This might include using tools like visual timetables or singing songs to build routine.
  2. Give them biblical stories and concepts to hang on to. For example, Jonah  had to make a huge change and was scared. Joseph was confused in a new place. Abraham and Sarah had to go to a new place and he got scared so he lied and pretended he wasn’t her husband. Talk about how sometimes we can make bad choices because we’re scared.
  3. Use foundational phrases. Just as we do in other areas of life, like when we tell children to look both ways before they cross the road. In change, this gives them something that’s the same. 

These can be things like:

  • ‘That’s new, what do I do? Deep breath. Look. Choose.'
  • 'Woah. I don’t know.' (To counteract the pressure to respond immediately.)
  • ‘Link arms with God. Let’s go.’ (This one brings in some God encounter.)
  • 'Peace all over. Hugs inside.'

Invent your own for whatever your child needs to be reminded of.

 

Primary school age

  1. This is a huge change for them, not just 'getting back into the groove'. So, we need to give our children lots of grace. Use the Key Tools of Creating Windows and Framing to name what is going on. Talk about how you're handling change in your life too.
  2. Help them see who God is in the change. Remind them of the testimony of their lives - ask them who was God when you were last at school or when we moved house or another big change happened. Have a conversation about where you were unsure in the past and who God was and what He did and what He said. Help them find examples of this in the Bible too.
  3. Help them to encounter God for themselves and connect with him using Chat and Catch.

 

Questions answered

  • 'I’d love to know what advice you would have to help my son who is desperate to share his faith but is afraid of being teased. He is eleven.' Listen to Rachel's answer by skipping to 20:40. She references podcast episode 77 where Olly Goldenberg answers a similar question.
  • 'How do you help your child to play with "personality" rather than being too rough and ending up in trouble?!' Listen to Rachel's answer by skipping to 25:00.
  • 'How do you help your child reset away from the peer pressure? Seems like peer pressure is back with a vengeance having had a season away from it being as intense…' Listen to Rachel's answer by skipping to 27:22.

 

Secondary school age

 

  1. Give them grace during the time of change. Strategically Create Windows into your life. Help give them figure out what they're feeing by using examples from your life that say 'this is what you might be feeling and if you are, this is how you might connect to God about it.'
  2. Use the hearts and minds tools (for more see Parenting Children for a Life of Faith). What are we drawing their attention to within their mind? Are we drawing attention to the stressful bits? Help them look back and see that’s what their day was about. Ask question like 'What did you have to persevere with today? What surprised you today? How did you rescue someone today? What did you find peaceful?' Ask curious questions. Build trust by not having an agenda or judgement attached. Understand what their experience is and get with them on it.
  3. Help them find themselves in scripture. Don’t just give them answers but people they can empathise with and understand as experiencing similar emotions. You are not alone in this experience, people in the Bible experienced this, for example this reminds me of the time when everyone was lying about David and he wrote the Psalms.

Questions answered

  • 'How do I support parents who are on this journey with their child who is autistic?' Listen to Rachel's answer by skipping to 18:10.
  • 'During lockdown, my son's friends have been online a lot while my son has been playing Lego with his younger brother and sister, bike rides, etc. He feels like he is less mature now, while I am thrilled that he has built friendships with his siblings, played down and not had to worry about all of the teenage pressures. But he now is frustrated and angry and tearful that his friends can not share in his experience and that they have been allowed to sit on computer games, etc. Help!' Listen to Rachel's answer by skipping to 19:16.

 

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Image acknowledgements

Walking to school by Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro