As we start to gather for worship in-person with social distancing, children will need to stay with their family during worship.
Sitting through the entire time of worship can be challenging for young children. We want to do our best to help children engage with our worship all the time, but especially with the added difficulty of social distancing. We don’t want to merely find ways to distract our children or just keep them quiet, but help them participate in worship. This means finding ways to adapt our worship to create more on-ramps for children to engage in what we are doing.
We are going to try and be more intentional about inviting children to participate in our corporate responses during worship and at times offering motions (such as bowing or raising hands) that kids can do along with the words. We are looking at the possibility of adding a child leader up front doing motions that other kids can follow. The kids could take turns being the leader that week.
The preacher will also take time to speak more directly to the children and offer a simple version of the gospel proclamation that the kids can repeat.
Similar to our time worshiping on Zoom, we will encourage kids to create an artistic offering of worship that they can share with the congregation. During the Peace, children (escorted by an adult and practicing social distancing) will be invited to tape or place their artwork on the altar.
We are asking that parents provide the elements and tools for this artwork. A coloring sheet related to the Scripture for that week will still be offered with the liturgy online before Sundays if parents desire to print it off and have their child color it.
If a child does need to get up and move around, parents can take their child to the back area of our worship gathering and move around while practicing social distancing. Parents can also bring items from home that could help children fidget and still stay connected to our worship. These items could even be special items that are set aside to only use with Sunday worship.
These could be things like coloring materials, pipe cleaners, other art supplies, a fidget spinner, Rubik’s cube, snack foods, lunch, etc.; but avoid items like tablets, phones, or books to read that pull children’s minds away from engagement with our worship together.
It also can be helpful for parents to practice the songs and prayers we do together in worship with their children throughout the week. This helps children be prepared to participate on Sunday, and these things are good for spiritual formation in general.
Especially as we navigate this challenging time, let’s do what we can to support each other and be gracious. Parenting is hard, good, and important work; and during this season of life we have less people who are able to help contribute directly to that work.
As a church family we are not able to be as hands-on in helping each other as we usually are. We have a parenting group chat where we can support each other. If you would like to be added to that group, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.