DWELL: A Simple Guide for Parents

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As more communities are being required to shelter in place or observe strict social distancing, many parents are moving into the role of teacher to continue their child’s schooling and children’s ministry experiences. Here are a few simple suggestions for parents who would like to lead Dwell sessions at home.

Each Dwell session has four steps. Use these steps as a guideline for shaping your time in God’s Story:

Step 1: Gathering for God’s Story

  • In the first step of a Dwell session, help kids prepare to enter God’s story. 
  • Feel free to skip this section if you don’t have time and just begin your time by singing a favorite praise song or simply inviting your child(ren) to take a few deep breaths to quiet their hearts and body before you begin the story. 

Step 2: Entering the Story

  • This step is the heart of the session: the Bible story. 
  • If you’re able to do so, you might find it helpful to read through the story yourself before telling it. If not, that’s okay. 
  • You’ll notice there are places to pause during the story telling; that might seem strange at first, but your kids are used to it! Use the wondering questions to think more deeply about the story together.  

Step 3: Living Into the Story

  • This step provides ways for your children to help retell the story. 
  • If Step 3 is a drama or other activity that won’t work with the number of kids you have at home, check the Easy Extras at the end of the session for other ideas or use one of the suggestions on this Dwell at Home resource: 5 Ways to Retell a Bible Story With Kids.

Step 4: Living Out of the Story

  • Skip reading this section if you don’t have time, and just end your time with prayer. 
  • If you need suggestions for ways to pray, check out the Dwell at Home resource, 5 Ways to Pray With Kids.

A few other simple suggestions:

  • Choose the Dwell level that best fits your full group of children. Most families will have children in several different levels of Dwell. Parents, you know your children the best. Pick whichever level you think will work best for your family. Here are the age groups for the various levels: 
    • Play (Preschool)
    • Imagine (Kindergarten-1st Grade)
    • Wonder (2nd-3rd grade)
    • Marvel (4th-5th grade)
    • Dive (6th-8th grade)
  • Ask your kids what things they do every week with their Dwell group. Whether your child remembers every normal part of their Dwell time, asking these questions will tell you what parts of their time they expect and anticipate. Be intentional about continuing as many of these regular practices as possible.
  • If you have time to do so, check out the Reflection at the beginning of the session. It’s designed to provide a leader with some background information, but you will find it helpful as well. 

Thank you!

Thank you for partnering with your congregation to continue children's ministry at home! And don't worry if things are a little chaotic...the Holy Spirit can work through that to touch your child's heart.

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