6 Hidden Blessings in “Staying Home” with Your Kids During COVID-19
*This post was written to encourage moms “stuck at home” with kids during COVID-19. I hope it encourages you. To those still working essential jobs, thank you!
So much as been stripped away during the Covid-19 crisis. Most of us have been forced to slow down in some way or another.
For me, I homeschool anyway. My husband and I both work from home anyway. Yet, even so, it is surprising how different it feels to be home together as a family all-day-every-day instead of running around to activities, playdates, or on shopping errands.
As an introvert and one who craves connection with my family, I am not struggling with this as much as others. But I miss my other favorite people, the ones who don’t live with me. Therein lies my tension.
I know that different personalities, different housing situations, and different family dynamics lead to vastly different experiences in the current situation.
Regardless of that, let’s explore some of the potential hidden blessings in staying home. As Christ-followers, we know that God is working all things together– from quarantine, to sickness, and even death– for the good of those who love Him. He will do this with Covid-19. What an amazing assurance!
Hidden blessings in staying home with your kids during the COVID-19 crisis
Time together in close quarters connects us (in good ways and you’re-stomping-on-my-last-nerve ways!) We have the opportunity, whether we want it or not, and whether we’re trying to or not, to be deeply in tune with how our children and/or spouse are feeling, what they’re thinking, how they’re doing on a heart level.
As mothers, this allows us to be confronted with things in our children’s lives that we may have missed, ignored, or not fully realized before.
This includes good qualities like creativity, servant-heartedness, patience, and gentleness. This allows us to identify and affirm what God is doing in their lives. I believe this is incredibly powerful and significant in their character development.
This also includes negative qualities like selfishness, disrespect, fear, or idleness. Along with this clear vision, we suddenly have the time and space to press into these hard areas with our children. We get to pray and ask God to guide us as we instruct, discipline, and shepherd our children’s hearts… and to do it actively, not just “survive” until we don’t have to be around them so much.
We are the parents, and just because this is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad. We have this gift of time and connection, but we must choose to use it well.
When Jesus left this earth, He gave His followers this directive:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded.” Matthew 28:19-20
He modeled what this looks like in His own ministry. Jesus called men and women to follow Him as He followed His Father. They left their professions to be discipled by Him. And as they went together, He invested in their lives, teaching them and showing them how God’s truths apply in real life situations. Those disciples, particularly the inner 12, spent a LOT of time with their teacher.
As His followers, we have the same charge today: to make disciples, baptizing, and teaching them to obey His word. We get to invest in the lives of believers who are coming up behind us, equipping them with tools to grow and guiding them into deeper obedience and a more eternal perspective according to God’s word.
When I think about all the time we have with our children right now, I think about the discipleship that can happen. We are with our kids possibly like never before. This is a discipling opportunity!
What might this look like?
How to invest in your children’s spiritual lives during COVID-19
There are so many ways to do this, here are a couple that are helping us.
1. Family devotions– One thing we have started doing at the beginning of the year is family breakfasts and Bible time. My husband and I felt inspired to start cooking a hot breakfast each day that we would all eat together, and then use the time around the table to read the the Bible and pray. We chose the book of Proverbs, and have been slowly making our way through with several verses each day.
With a squirmy 4 year old and a toddler in the mix, this isn’t perfect. I don’t want you to paint an idealistic picture of this that simply isn’t true. It’s a battle most mornings to get the younger children to focus. But we are in this for the long and short game both. We want our children to take something away today, but we also want to train them to be able to sit with us and discuss, which will pay dividends to our time later.
Our older children (ages 6 and 9) in particular are thinking about what we read and discuss and applying it to their lives. So am I for that matter. We are doing it together, and that’s discipleship!
2. Get excited about conversation– If you have older children (preschool and up), I image you, like me, are finding unprecedented amounts of conversation time with your kids. What an opportunity to really listen to their questions, thoughts, and feelings, and to share a godly perspective and worldview with them! Let’s take this seriously and not waste it.
As we work and play side-by-side, gardening, cleaning, folding laundry, playing board games, we get to invest truth and grace into our children’s lives. Let’s sew spiritual seeds and have spiritual conversations as we go about our day.
At first when I couldn’t go shopping due to Covid-19, I felt dissatisfied. There were things we needed and wanted after our recent move, and ordering online couldn’t provide the same experience.
However, as days and weeks went by, I settled into a place of contentment in my own heart. Maybe you’ve experienced this too?
I have learned to make do in various ways, and I’m actually grateful for this time. When I do “get to shop” for some things I’m wanting, it will be less.
Waiting, making do, and learning contentment are true blessings.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7
For me this season is a time of slowing down and turning inward toward my home.
If you want to read more about the importance of this: Slow Your Home.
Slowing down enables us to reflect, think, pray, and read God’s word.
When do I find time for that with four small children? This mainly happens after they go to bed at night. I have started some nightly routines that make space for this slowing down time. A bath, tea, my Bible and journal.
I have always enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie series, and I admire certain aspects of the pioneer life. Laura Ingall’s family worked very hard and lived very simply. They appreciated each small blessing: a piece of candy on Christmas, a small china shepherdess that sat on the shelf, Pa’s fiddle music in the evening. It was not unusual for them to go weeks without seeing another person. They endured incredible hardships together and felt incredible joys. They trusted God and He sustained them.
In a small way, I feel like I’m getting to experience some of the sweetness that I admire in Laura’s stories. (Don’t make fun… I did say “small” 😆). Our family is together during this time, working and figuring out what it means to do life well together without the disjointedness created by all the coming and going.
Embracing the slow, and especially the “together,” will require lots of grace, which we will find at the throne of God.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
As we tap into God’s grace and move in it throughout our days, patience, gentleness, love, and every other spiritual fruit will flow out of our lives. This is our defense against complaining, self-pity, and agitation.
Forming new habits and routines
If you’ve been around for a while, you probably know that I haven’t blogged in nearly a year. My husband and I haven’t podcasted in a nearly two years.
However this Covid-19 “quarantine” has refueled me in many ways. It helped make space for me to create some new habits and routines.
Each morning I’ve been getting up early to have some space to work, write, and dream.
In only a week, I have written a blog post (this one!), started sharing my life on social media again (you can follow me on Insta here and Facebook here), and written a children’s book manuscript! It’s amazing what you can get done with a simple, daily routine.
If you need help outlining a morning routine that chips away at your goals, I highly recommend Make Over Your Mornings online course by Crystal Paine. It helped me several years ago and still today!
Not only that, but we’ve also implemented some new habits and routines for our children.
Their morning routines happen directly after breakfast from 9-9:30. This is not new, but we’re doing it with renewed structure. If not done satisfactorily, they will lose their hour of screen time later.
Chore time (a BRAND new Covid-19 thing for us) is from 9:30-10. This is when they have a daily chore that must be done. The rewards are tokens that can be cashed in for 0.25 or saved up to buy more screen time.
Did you know that God will provide for your family?
It’s true. Just like the flowers who are clothed without a worry as to their garments, and so also the birds that are fed, God will clothe and feed us. In fact, when we choose faith and trust, it is fun to see what He will do! It is an exciting adventure of supernatural events and provisions… but we do need to be open-minded about what this looks like. God has a better and more holy plan for us than simply to lavish us with comforts.
Our family is headed toward a new season with how we earn our income. This is related to Covid-19, and to be honest, we really don’t know where we’re headed.
We are grateful that God uses disruptions to facilitate course changes according to His will. I look forward to seeing what He will do! Our only #lifegoal is to be obedient.
For some a new season might mean a permanent break away from some activities that you now see were over-crowding your schedule. For others it might mean making the jump to homeschooling or switching something else big in your life. Perhaps it means opening your heart to God’s conviction in this time of quietness and stillness and surrendering your life to Him in new ways.
Look for ways God is calling you into a new season through this time of disruption. You’ll be blessed by what He will do.
What hidden blessings are you finding at home with your children during Covid-19?
Are you looking for a shot of perspective during these scary, strange times? I would love to walk you through a 90-day journey of seeing differently in my devotional Heavenly Minded Mom. Find it here.