Teach children kindness while social distancing

Teach children kindness while social distancing

Our world has changed. Businesses are shut down. Schools have closed. Churches provide drive-in or virtual services. In just a few short weeks, our lives have been turned upside down.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the world is practicing social distancing, sheltering in place and donning masks and gloves when outside the home.

But with these changes come opportunities … opportunities for teaching children important traits to help others and serve God.

During this time, one characteristic of a person who loves Christ is showing kindness to others. Best taught by example, children look to parents and church leaders in finding ways to help.

Stephanie Hartsell, minister to children and preteens at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, said her church encourages everyone to “live sent” — including children.

“For children, one of the main ways they can do this is to show kindness to those who are not kind to them,” Hartsell said. “Jesus’ crucifixion, David sparing Saul’s life when he had the opportunity and Joseph forgiving his brothers are three of the main stories I point children and families to when we are teaching about kindness.”

Live on mission

Use this time when children are home to show examples of kindness. These simple ideas help children to become kind, generous people — one good deed at a time.

  1. Stay connected. Use Zoom to connect as a Sunday School class or missions organization. Children can talk to their friends, engage in discussion of the lesson and stay connected. For children who do not have access to a computer, teachers can mail materials and worksheets to them.
    As a teacher, ask each child to relay an act of kindness he or she has performed during the last week. How have they helped someone? How did this make them feel?
  2. Think of others. Encourage parents to help children reach out to neighbors while social distancing. Are elderly or handicapped people living nearby who need groceries? Offer to place an order and then leave it on their doorstep. Could your child deliver the newspaper to their door?
  3. Share your love. Using colored markers, draw a happy picture and leave it on a neighbor’s porch or on the door. Or draw an illustration and tape it to a window near your street. Put a smile on the faces of those who pass by.
  4. Involve children in helping people. If you’re cooking, encourage children to mix ingredients, stir and help clean up. If arranging a bouquet of flowers, let them pick and arrange the gift. Take the children when you deliver the food or gift. With social distancing, call ahead and leave it at the door. Encourage your children to talk about a time when someone did something kind for them.
  5. Give to those in need. During this pandemic, many people are without jobs. Food banks and nonprofits are seeing an increase in requests. Make a list of food items a local food bank could use.

Do you have any of these items? Are you able to purchase them? If so, take your child with you as you drop off the donations. Pray together for those who receive the groceries.

In these unusual times, social distancing has boundaries but kindness has no limits.