By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12
The phrase, creatures of habit, means doing the same things at the same time in the same way. I think it’s safe to say that most families have settled into the new norm during quarantine and have found themselves quickly becoming creatures of habit once again.
But why not make the most of quarantine and ask a few thought-provoking questions to encourage deeper family discussions? You might be surprised at some of your kids’ answers, and you might even learn a thing or two you didn’t know before.
This worldwide pandemic is a scary and complex situation, even for adults. As hard as it is for us to not be out of the house and living “normal” life—it can be that much harder on kids as they grapple to understand.
They might be missing things that you didn’t even know they enjoyed to begin with, or scared of things you didn’t know were bothering them. Although it might seem difficult to strike up a conversation about something so complicated with your kids, your kids are certain to have thoughts and opinions about what is directly affecting them.
These conversation starters are designed to not only help you bond as a family, but also to help your kids process their emotions during this complicated time.
So, make the most out of quarantine with your kids. Here are 12 questions to get the conversation going:
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1. Now that you’ve been away from school for so long, what do you think you’ll appreciate about it when you go back?
Kids have been out of school for a long time now, and it’s uncertain of when they’ll go back. At first, quarantine probably felt like an extra Spring Break to them, but as time has gone on, many kids are actually missing the routine of school.
Talk about what they miss about their teachers, classes, and friends. Encourage them to write letters to their teachers expressing their appreciation. Drive-by their school and talk about the memories they’ve made and the memories they’ll make once their back.
This can be a great opportunity to help your kids appreciate the value of school.
2. What do you miss most about your friends?
Missing out on time with friends has been one of the biggest issues for kids during quarantine.
Most don’t understand why they can’t hang out like they used to. Ask your kids what they miss most about their friends.
Talk about the characteristics that make for strong friendships. Get them thinking about how they might be a better friend moving forward. And, offer your kids opportunities to call or FaceTime their friends regularly.
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17
3. When you see people wearing masks, does it seem strange or scary to you?
It’s surprising how adjusted we’ve become to seeing people wearing masks in public. Ask your children how it makes them feel to see everyone in masks.
Make sure they understand the importance of why people should wear them. Also, consider showing them how to make their own masks with a bandana and a couple of rubber bands.
Here is a helpful article to help young children understand why people are covering their faces.
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4. If you were the president, what would you say to our country to help people feel safe?
Whether your family is into politics or not, having healthy discussions about our government’s decisions is a good idea. Share about some of the things that have taken place in a way that they can understand.
Ask them how they might have handled things differently. Then, take a few minutes to pray for the president and our national leaders.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
5. Can you think of a creative way to let your brothers and sisters know you love them?
Sibling rivalry is likely at an all-time high during quarantine, so it’s important to diffuse some of the tension. Talk with each of your kids and ask them to find a creative way to show their brothers and sisters a bit of love.
This can be cleaning their room for them, giving them the bigger slice of cake, or making a card for them. Foster harmony among your kids as much as possible and let them know you are in it together. For more tips, here’s an article called How to Encourage Good Sibling Relationships.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
6. What are some ways we can be more giving as a family?
Even though our families have been restricted by the stay-at-home order, it doesn’t mean we can’t be helpful to neighbors or community members. Have a family meeting and come up with a few ways you can give back to those around you.
Maybe, a widowed neighbor would appreciate a basket of fruit. Perhaps, a nearby park needs a bit of clean up. Together, you can still make a difference and give back during quarantine.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10
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7. What do you think of all the medical workers who have risked their health to take care of others?
It’s important to get our kids thinking about all the medical workers who have worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 outbreak. Share selected news clips of medical staff who are making a big difference.
Think of ways you can support a nurse or doctor in your community. Most of all, pray hard for the first responders and people who are risking their own health to help those with COVID-19. Check out this post for more ideas on how to support people in the health care field.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 2
8. Have you enjoyed watching church online, or would you rather go to church?
There’s a good chance your kids are missing their youth programs at church. Seeing their friends, singing worship songs, and hearing Bible stories are probably things they wish they could have back.
Assure your kids, that eventually, they will get to go back to the familiar church setting. In the meantime, try to make online church extra special by printing a few Bible coloring pages or activities to work on while your family views the service.
9. Have you wondered why God would allow the Coronavirus to spread?
While we don’t want to scare our kids, or focus on the negative aspects of the pandemic, it’s important to discuss the coronavirus in light of God’s Word. Don’t be afraid to discuss some of the reasons why God has allowed the virus to spread.
Instead, give your children honest answers and plenty of Biblical encouragement. Point out the characteristics of God’s divine nature despite what is going on. And be sure to follow this discussion in prayer.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
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10. What new hobby can you start now that you have more time at home?
What better time than quarantine to start a new hobby? Both kids and parents can use this time to do something they’ve always wanted to do. Ask your kids what they would like to try and be as supportive as possible in fostering that interest.
Here are a few hobby ideas to consider for your family:
- Spray paint art
- Sewing (Design fun face masks!)
- Learning an instrument (Online tutorials abound!)
- Wood carving
- Cooking (Think MasterChef Junior!)
11. What are some things about our family that you’ve learned during quarantine—both good and bad?
Families are learning quite a bit about each other during this stay-at-home order. Lots of different personality quirks and emotions are rising to the surface—some good and some bad. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your kiddos about the things they’ve learned, not only about themselves, but about each other.
Try to keep the conversation positive and encouraging to prevent feelings from getting hurt. Make a list of ways your family can work on the negative things and support each other in becoming healthier and happier together.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
12. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
This conversation starter can really help you make the most of quarantine with your kids. Not only can you brainstorm about your dream vacation, you can research that part of the world and learn lots of fun facts about it. Consider adding printable activity sheets to the mix, and learn something new as you travel the world from your own home!
While this season of quarantine won’t last forever, there are still plenty of stay-at-home days ahead. So why not make the most of them by incorporating meaningful questions to get your kids thinking and growing? You might find that your conversations lead to a better understanding of how your kids think, feel, and process everything that’s going on around them.
Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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