In support of the National Week of Prayer and Fasting, as issued by the Government of Samoa in their State of Emergency announcement on Friday, I thought it would be good to share some ideas on how our children can participate, without omitting their meals.
After explaining to your child(ren) what the nation will be doing for the next seven days, try some of these alternative fasting ideas with them.
Remember to make this time fun and not mundane so be creative and cheerful about your approach to prayer and fasting with your children.
1. Electronics Free Mornings - it's no secret that our children have greater access to electronic devices these days so limiting their usage will help them to focus on other morning tasks. Remember to provide an alternative task for your child that is engaging. For older children, allow them the opportunity to monitor their screen-time instead of removing their devices. Get them involved in a task that encourages positive family time, better yet, you could set the example by going electronics-free in the morning too.
2. Meat Free Meals - opt for a healthy breakfast that the children can help prepare with you. Whether it is chopping up a fruit salad and popo or vaisalo. Use the time to talk about the fruit names, colours, what your child's favourite fruit is, safe food handling and hand-washing techniques.
3. Prayer Journalling - show your child how to make a booklet or decorate an old exercise book. Pick a special corner of the house and set up the area to be their prayer corner e.g. cushions, children's Bibles, paper, pens and craft tools. Encourage your child to write or draw their prayers each morning. Create a prayer journal for yourself if you don't already have one and share them with your children.
4. Scripture Copy Work - select seven, short easy-to-understand Bible texts. Pick a theme such as hope, faith, fear, healing, compassion. Give one text to your child each day and show them how to rewrite them. As they're copying, talk to them about the text and guide them. If your child is too young for copy work, create a song with your child using the selected text for the day. If your child is older, challenge them to create a Lettering piece for their selected text.
5. Fruit Smoothies - select some smoothie recipes that you can make with your children, as a breakfast alternative. Add in some oats or chia seeds to help keep them full for longer. Allow your child to wash and chop the fruit, guiding them safely. Let your child appreciate different colours, scents and flavours.
6. No sugary drinks or snacks - have alternatives on hand for when your child is thirsty, offer some cool fresh water or a cold niu. Squeeze some orange juice with them or if you have a juicer, help them prepare a veggie fruit juice and explain why these foods are better for them.
7. World Prayer Map - print a map of the world or use a globe to choose a country affected by COVID-19 and together with your child learn about that country, language, food, culture. Pray for that country and place a sticker or marker to show that you have prayed for that country. Here's a free prayer map for children from Every Home for Christ that can help your child see prayer needs on a global scale.
O T H E R T I P S
Plan a simple age-appropriate morning routine for your child to cover the 7 days of Prayer and Fasting e.g.
Wake up and read a book (or adult reads to them) & quick morning prayer
Make beds, shower & brush teeth
Wash hands and help prepare breakfast
Prayer Journalling and Scripture Copy work
Worship with songs and dancing (action songs)
World Prayer Map
FREE creative play or storytime
Assist in preparing lunch
Involve your child(ren) in the planning, explaining as often as possible the purpose of what you are doing
Be excited! Children feed off of your energy
Pay attention to any new information your children are learning and remember to praise them accordingly when they can recall it
“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Be safe. Cut your nails. Wash those hands and stay at home :)
[ This post is by Caroline Ryan - creator of Talofa Kids! and homeschooling mum]