As the world continues to face upheaval, parents and guardians are faced with the task of teaching children about faith. Fatih can become a sure foundation in a child’s life, providing them with both peace and direction throughout their lives. How can you help the children in your life discover the great blessing of faith when faced with scary and often overwhelming situations? These three ideas, based on both gospel and self-care principles, can help you comfort your children while teaching them about faith in Christ.
Identify Feelings & Teach Emotional Intelligence
Adults struggle with feelings of fear and anxiety because of the state of the world; it is even more natural for a child to have those feelings. It can be even more frightful because children don’t often understand what they are feeling or how to handle them. When you are able to identify an emotion and give it a name, you gain more power to control it and express it. Teach your children about emotions. Use an emotion chart for older children to teach them the differences between emotions. For example, fear could really mean panicked, helpless, or frustrated.
When your child is expressing an emotion, try to get them to say what they are feeling out loud. Gently guide, but don’t press them into confusion. You may need to wait until they are calm to talk about what happened. Constantly talk about your emotions as well. Let your children know it is ok to have and express emotions in healthy ways, especially if they are negative.
Jesus Christ experienced many emotions and was also patient with others as they expressed emotions as well. He wept with Mary and Martha. He taught Peter when he got hot-headed. He felt the need to be alone. By teaching emotional intelligence to your children, you can help them combat fear with faith in themselves and in the Lord.
Create a Refuge That is Calm & Quiet
President Thomas S. Monson once said, “Our homes are to be more than sanctuaries; they should also be places where God’s Spirit can dwell, where the storm stops at the door, where love reigns and peace dwells.”
With so much going on and with so much to do, create a place in your home where children can disconnect from the world and connect with God. We suggest creating a special place in your home that is comfortable, clean, and near a picture of Christ. Take time as a family to be quiet together. Listen to calming music, talk quietly about what they are experiencing, and give them time to journal. Avoid technology in this space. The purpose of this space is to help children feel they are safe and have a place they can go to calm down and experience peace. Ideally, by spending time in this space they will also start to connect with the feelings of the Spirit.
Turn to Christ in Small Moments
We want our children to know that they can turn to Christ in times of fear or uncertainty. If we begin this process early, we can prepare our children to find comfort in their relationship with Jesus Christ. When a child loses a toy, gets a scrape, or is upset about something, mention Christ. Talk about Christ constantly. Say small prayers about the small things throughout the day, no matter where you are. If a child comes to you with a problem or concern, provide them comfort and direction but also invite them to turn to God. If you can help them turn to Christ in the small moments, they’ll be more able and prepared to turn to God when the big, scary stuff arises.
How do you help your children find peace and faith during fearful times?