By now, your youth have likely settled into some kind of pattern. The immediate crisis of figuring out “what do we do now?” has subsided. Here are some ways and considerations on how you can continue to check in with your youth both as a group and individually.
Some questions you can be asking:
- When you’re on a chat with youth, ask a rating question e.g. “On a scale between 1-5, how anxious are you feeling right now?”, and ask them to show their rating by entering the number in the chat or displaying with their fingers.
- In an online group setting, offer opportunities for kids to share what they’ve been experiencing. Some youth need a space to verbally process their thoughts and feelings—it’s the way these kids work through their emotions and arrive at awareness . Be prudent in how you facilitate that time. Also, having regular times set aside for sharing and conversation lets your youth know a window is available and they may want to share in the future.
- Have kids share videos, articles or another media that reflects what they’re feeling. Even asking them to share what they’ve been watching lately can give some indication of how they’re feeling.
- Ask similar questions to those above, but in the context of their parents or friends. They may be more willing to share emotions or awareness when there’s some level of anonymity. (“My friend is feeling …” could reflect another person’s struggles or their own state of mind.)
- Have them share about what activities they’re doing and for how long in a given day.
- Find out what they’re eating (because some people tend to stress eat in this context).
Whether as a group or individually, some considerations to take note of:
- Allow each person to share and reveal their thoughts/feelings at their own pace.
- Determine what may be the best medium to use for yourself, as well as the kids. Some leaders prefer an hour–long Zoom call. Others may not feel they’re connecting well in that context and prefer/be better at conversing through text.
- In group settings be aware of time limits and discern how deep and long one person can share. In some cases, it may make sense to allow one person to be the focus of that sharing time. However, you may need to move that sharing to a separate, individual space. Before the sharing starts, you may want to preface that segment with some ground rules e.g. we’ll allow each person 3 min. to share something if they wish.
Our circumstances will continue to change. How we engage one another will continue to change. Remember that Jesus challenges us to live in community together in all situations, and providing spaces for kids to work through their thoughts and emotions is a key way to honour Jesus’ teachings on this. For some, online youth chats may be the only space they have to talk and listen in community; others may have multiple outlets. We do youth ministry SO THAT we can at least one of those channels.
If you need any additional assistance in this area, contact Alvin.