Three things to know when you begin to gather and provide parenting helps:
- What is the age group you want to target? Younger Preschool, Older Preschool, Younger Children, or Older Children
- What needs do you want to address? Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional, Spiritual
- How do you want to use the information you gather? To be given out as a handout. To be used in a parenting class. To be given to the parents in a specific age graded class.
- Babies, Ones, & Twos – First time parents may be asking…What are we to expect? There are so many needs what do we do to not be overwhelmed?
- Material for Parents: Baby Life Magazine by LifeWay, Wholly Kids by LifeWay, Intentional Parenting by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan
- Material for Childhood Leaders: Teaching Preschoolers by Anne Tonks, LifeWay’s Kids Ministry 101 Magazine, Wholly Kids by LifeWay!
- Threes, Fours, and Fives – Parents may ask, “Why do they always want to do things on their own? Kids may ask lots of questions in “Big Church”. How can parents prepare for this and how can we as leaders help them
- Material for Parents: When I Go to Church by Kay Henry, Wholly Kids by LifeWay, Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Trip, Parent Life Magazine by LifeWay
- Material for Childhood Leaders: Raising Boys and Girls by David Thomas and Sissy Goff
- Parenting Class for Preparing Children for Worship
Younger Children 5 yrs to 8 yrs of age
- 1st – 3rd Grader – Questions from parents regarding friendships, behavior, personality, and how to answer “Bible” questions.
- Material for Parents: Intentional Parenting by Sissy Goff and David Thomas, Parent Life Magazine by LifeWay, Wild Things by David Thomas, Raising Girls by Sissy Goff.
- LifeWay’s age -graded magazine for the child – More for younger children (1st & 2nd Graders) and Adventure for middle children (3rd & 4th Graders)
- Material for Childhood Leaders: Raising Boys and Girls by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan, LifeWay’s Kid Ministry 101 Magazine, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions by George Barna
Older Children 9 yrs to 12 yrs of age – Preteens
- 4th – 6th Grade – Parents feel as if their child is growing up fast and may be sensing they are wanting to be a bit independent. There are lots of changes taking place and the children are at times trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in.
- Material for Parents: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Wholly Kids by LifeWay,
- LifeWay’s age graded magazine for Preteens – Bible Express, Screens and Teens by Kathy Koch
- Intentional Parenting and Are My Kids on Track by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, & Melissa Trevathan,
- Parent Life Magazine by LifeWay
- Material for Childhood Leaders: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp,
- Intentional Parenting by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan
- Material for all of us: The Bible. We know that there are all kinds of books out there to help and encourage us in our role of parenting. However we must spend time in God’s Word and look to Him as we have the awesome responsibility to help guide our children. We must pray for our children to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as he draws them unto himself.
Five Things Kids Ministers Need to Know About Parents
by: Klista Storts, Kids Ministry 101 – Winter 2016
Here are the responses that I received from friends when I asked them, personally, what they worry about:
- They worry… a lot!
- Am I giving him enough opportunities? How hard should I push him?
- What if my my child strays away from God and church as an older teenager and adult?
- Will they chose the right group of friends?
- I’m worried I’m not enough.
- I’m scared that my child will experience: Bullying * Shame * Crippling fear * Physical pain * Emotional pain * Spiritual pain
- I don’t know how to handle my child leaving for college.
- Am I protecting them enough or protecting them too much?
- I’m anxious about my teen driving.
How you can help:
Equip parents with Scripture, after Scripture, after Scripture that will help reassure them of God’s control of this world, His help in time of need, and His love for their kids. Remind parents of verses they can share with their kids to help prepare and deal with the world around them. Pray with and for families in your ministry. Call parents and ask for specific ways you can pray for them and their kids. The more you ask, the more they’ll be willing to share with you.
- They’re not sure about leading their own children to Christ.
Many of the parents of kids in your ministry feel ill-equipped when it comes to leading their own children to Christ. They, themselves, may be new Christians who weren’t brought up with parents who modeled and led the way. Although they’d love to do it, they’re not sure how. They may be thinking “What if I mess this up? What if I don’t say it right? How will I know if he’s ready? I don’t have all those Scriptures memorized!”
How you can help:
Give parents the greatest gift you can ever give- the tools and the confidence they need to be the ones to lead their kids to Christ. Hold a class outlining tips, providing Scripture, and allowing time to practice sharing their own salvation story. (Don’t be surprised if a parent in your class actually accepts Christ while trying to find out how to share with his child!)
- They’re way past busy.
I tried to think of a better word to describe this, but really, there just isn’t one. Today’s parents (and their families) are way past just being busy. It’s more like busy to nth degree. Between work, sports, practice, other extracurricular activities, homework, housework, PTA, errands, etc., they have little time left for true “family time.”
How you can help:
Don’t over-schedule families in your church. Make sure the programs you offer have a purpose and are in line with the mission of your church. As you plan, keep in mind school schedules as well as schedules from other ministries in your church.
- They’d be happy to help.
Sometimes people don’t know you really need them until you tell them. (I know, how could they NOT know you need them, right?) Even though they’re busy, they’d still like to be part of the church “experience” with their kids.
How you can help them help you:
Don’t make blanket announcements in church or in the bulletin. They don’t work. Ask parents personally… face-to-face if possible. Many times, parents feel as though they have nothing to offer to your ministry. Help them know specifically how they can help. It may be leading a small group, making food, writing cards, helping in VBS- any number of things. Just let them know what you need!!
- They put you on a pedestal and believe you’re the expert.
Parents believe that you are in the position you’re in because you know what you’re doing. That’s why they go to you for all kinds of advice. That’s why they expect so much of you.
How you can help:
Don’t take this wrong, but I hope that scares you a little- maybe even a lot. I want you to have a healthy fear because you’re held to such a high standard- not only by parents- but more importantly, by the One Who called you. Make sure that you’re taking care of your own spiritual needs. Take time to equip yourself with God’s Word; place hedges of protection around yourself and your family; humble yourself and be real; surround yourself with godly people who will hold you accountable. Lastly, parents want you to know they appreciate and love you. You may not realize it, and they may not think to tell you as often as they should. But they do! Thank you for all you do for kids and God’s kingdom.