Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety

Parents, either you’ve already experienced separation anxiety, you’re in the middle of it, or it’s on the horizon. To be honest, I’m in the middle of it with our two-year old. Can I hear an amen, Lord help us?!

What is Separation Anxiety? Pediatricians help us understand that separation anxiety is so tough on kids because they don’t understand object permanence. A child realizes Mom is gone, and what they think is, “Oh my gosh, MY MOM IS GONE,” like…forever gone.

https://contentpathway.s3.amazonaws.com/separation-anxiety-full.jpg

It’s why we play hide and seek or peekaboo with little ones. We want to reinforce the idea that even though you can’t see an object, it doesn’t mean it’s gone. The fear produced over this misunderstanding is what we call separation anxiety. It creates anxiety in our children, and much of the time, an anxiety in us as parents.

Take some time to check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with anxiety. Later in the month we’ll look at some practical tools for how to help your child conquer separation anxiety.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/95865874/650be0e74c

GP Kids Parenting: The Comparison Game

Being a parent is hard work and sometimes we wonder if we are doing a good job?  We hear about other families, other people’s kids and it can be easy for doubt to creep in.  Comparing ourselves to others is natural and depending on the situation can either make you feel like parent of the year or a total failure.

The last thing you want to hear about when you were up all night with your ten month old is how someone else’s two month old is sleeping through the night! Or how about running into that mom who is always perfectly put together when you can’t remember the last time you got a shower?

Comparisons can be harmful to our self esteem and our outlook on how we are managing.  It’s easy to fall into this trap. We have to realize that we all have good and bad days.  No one has completely mastered being a parent!

Take some time and check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with those moments we feel like we don’t measure up.  Later this month, you will receive some tools to help you when you are playing the comparison game through our email list here.

Here is the link to the video: https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/90162336/2b9dba9f43

Thanks,

Cassandra DeWitt

 

GP Kids Parenting: Technology

Maybe it was a Super Nintendo, Oregon Trail on the school computer, or immersing yourself in episodes of Full House, but our exposure to technology was vastly different from what our children experience today. They’re inundated with technology EVERYWHERE they turn.

Does that mean we just hand them an iPod, unlimited Netflix and YouTube access, and an unmonitored TV and allow them to handle technology however they deem fit? This month, in our video below, we want to help you as a parent understand the pros and cons of technology and how to manage it in a way that sets your child up for success through a Biblical worldview.

The follow-up to this blog will be an email through our GP Kids list titled “GP Kids Parenting – My Child’s Mobile Device.” Sign up for those emails here.

Check out this 5 minute video!

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/86560654/63bc8c27e1

GP Kids Parenting: Bullying

This is a big day as we start our online parenting class. At least once a month, we will be offering a Christ-centered, online parenting class/resource.  We want to partner with you and support you in your efforts to raise fully committed followers of Jesus Christ!  These “classes” will be usually five minutes or less, and we hope they will encourage you as parents and families!

We’re jumping right into a topic that you’ve probably already experienced with your child or know is on the horizon-bullying.

If you stop long enough to think about bullying you might have flashbacks to something you’ve experienced. It’s one thing for us as adults to remember those difficult encounters, but another one entirely to think about someone picking on our own kid.

When our child experiences bullying, we’re ready for the gloves to come off because, let’s face it, nobody messes with MY child! We also know fighting our children’s battles doesn’t help them in the long run. They need to experience difficulty, so how do we figure out when to step in and when to let them handle it?

Check out this incredible video that will help equip you to begin the dialogue with your child about bullying.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/73132864

GP Kids – Important Tel Hai Camp Info

Dear Families and Friends of Grace Point,i-bdvmq8z-l

I am writing today to share with you about Tel Hai Adventure Camp week.  Over the past 11+ years that I have been at Grace Point, Tel Hai has been a highlight of ministry for GP Kids.  This away-camp week for students 8-11 years old began as a thriving opportunity for our families to send their children to a Christian camp.

Similar to many ministry endeavors, the week has had high points and low points throughout the time Grace Point has led it.  At its start, about 14 years ago, we had nearly 50 kids from Grace Point and our local area that would attend.  The week served not only our students, but local children from Honey Brooke who wished to attend, so it became an outreach opportunity as well.  Over the years, while I have led the camp, I have taken time each year to pray over and evaluate the program.  This year, when our Tel Hai leadership team (comprised of both Grace Point and Crossing Community Church leaders) evaluated the program, it became clear that God was indeed directing us to reconsider leading this program.  After much prayer, I brought these considerations to both the staff and elders and decided, with their feedback, that we would not move forward with offering and leading Tel Hai Adventure Camp as a Grace Point sponsored ministry.

i-cgp8m3b-lHere are some factors that brought us to this decision. Of the 130 kids who attended Tel Hai Adventure Camp week this year, only 8 of them were from Grace Point.  Another few students were from Crossing Community Church, but the majority of the children were from the local area of Honey Brooke, PA.  While I loved the opportunity to outreach to the Honey Brooke area, it became clear to me that continuing relationships with those students we did reach was difficult due to our removed location in Newtown, PA.  And despite our efforts over a number of years, we have not seen the number of GP children increase. In a nutshell,  the amount of time, energy, effort and finances it takes to make this one week happen were a cost outweighing the gain.

I realize this ministry has become very dear to the heart of the many leaders and students who have been a part of it, and I assure you much prayer and deliberation has gone into this decision.  I, myself, am sad to close this door.  However, I am, at the same time, excited at what we will see God do in children’s ministry at Grace Point with more time and energy to invest here.

You may be asking yourself, what’s next then?  What could we offer by way of the camp experience some students will miss?  These are important questions I want to answer for you.  Our efforts will be poured back into the overall ministry of GP Kids at Grace Point.  It is my prayer to see the freed up time, leadership and finances used to further the ministry within our program here where the impact can be greater and lasting. Beyond that, I have begun researching other camp experiences that Grace Point would recommend for families.  We will not look to lead a week of camp as we did with Tel Hai, but we do want to offer options and opportunities that may serve you well.  To check out some camp opportunities and further updates, please use this link: https://gracepointonline.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/elementary-and-family-camp-ideas.pdf.

I care deeply about your family and any questions you might have.  Please email me questions at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org.

In love and prayer, Cassandra DeWitt

Family Advent Opportunity

2016-advent-guide_from_village-church-1What is advent? Google search says, “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.

For us as believers, it is even more significant. It is the celebration of the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus, the most notable person there is and has ever been.

In the weeks and days that precede Christmas, Advent, we can set aside time to pause and reflect on the birth of Jesus. As families, we want to encourage you to take a little time to consider what you want this season to be for your family. Making a plan for the time you want to set aside is key to sticking to the plan. So, go ahead, pick a time. Great. (thumbs up!)

Now that that’s done, we have something that could be a help as materials for that special family time. Click here. This link will take you to a five-week Advent Devotional Guide. You can print it out, or use it online. The materials give you a way to prepare for your devotion time, a family portion to help you facilitate your time with questions and ideas, as well as, songs to go along with the Advent celebration. While the family portion is geared more towards preschool and elementary aged children, consider having older children use the “Personal-Study” to work through in place of reading the family commentary and then talk about what you have learned together after you have finished.

We hope you and your family will join us as we focus on Jesus’ birth over the coming weeks.

VBS – Act Two

Have you ever thought about VBS as a play or a theatrical production? I see the actual week of VBS like “Act One.”  Not in the sense of what we are doing is like putting on a show, but in the sense that VBS has multiple acts, scenes, or parts.

Act One introduces the characters and the plot. Act Two is where you find the important completion to the story.

Right now we are in the intermission portion of the production.  We have completed the week of VBS (Act One) having introduced the children to the Word of Truth and having created new relationships between children, youth, and adults all involved in VBS.  This is great! This is a huge praise and boy, are we thankful for everyone who was a part of this special week. So, what happens next?

Act Two is where we follow up.  It is equally as important as Act One.  Will you follow up with a child, youth, or adult with whom you connected at VBS?  It’s easy! Maybe you can do this on a Sunday morning?  Great!  Go for it.  Maybe you don’t know how to begin, that’s where I would love to offer help.  I have postcards that could be sent.  I have email addresses that you could send to.  Let me know how you would like to follow up, and I would be more than happy to help.  Remember, many hands make easy work.

So, will you help there be an Act Two and help us reach even more in the name of Jesus Christ?

Questions, contact: Cassandra at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org

Children’s Volunteer, You Are The Awesome Secret Sauce

Dear Children’s Volunteer,

Thank you. Thank you for being on the frontlines of ministry each week. You play a unique role to help shape the future of a child’s life. There are not enough thank-you cards to say how grateful we are. Week by week, you plant and share God’s truth in a relational way kids can put into practice. You prepare before you arrive on Sunday. You meet kids in their world to help them talk through and embrace faith. Thank you for choosing to develop relationships with kids to have influence in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to love and know these children. This is no ordinary volunteer job you take on. There are some not-so-nice things, and some wonderful things happening. We know that at every phase in a child’s life there is culture to contend with. Look at you . . . taking time to learn what’s happening in each age and phase of a child’s life that you serve. You become relational by engaging them in what’s happening in their world. You know that fun matters. You are being and showing Jesus to them. Thank you.

Thanks for doing your homework to learn about things like what current shows kids are watching. You listen for songs that kids are singing. You use this to stay “in tune” (sorry) with a child’s world to have influence. Thanks for learning that Terraria is neither a plant, nor a disease—but a game elementary kids love right now. Thanks for helping understand kids are now wired, and take devices to school for education. Being aware of what’s happening in a child’s life is important. You know this. Thank you.

By staying tuned in to each phase of the kids you serve, you help support the vision of Grace Point. We know that “having common ground with kids to engage them helps create trust.” (Quote from Not Normal.) You meet kids right where they’re at. And then you speak into their lives and apply and introduce them to God’s love through conversation. You help give them a Monday through Saturday faith that they can own and live out. Way to go!

And Volunteer, you bowl us over by how you take a step to reach out to meet and engage parents. You are another voice in a child’s life to help partner with them. You follow up with kids and parents during the week. Why? Because you care about the kids and their families and how you can support them in their faith.

Children’s volunteer, you are the awesome secret sauce to impact kids in our church.

Thank you.