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One of my favorite parts of the Dwell curriculum is the beautiful children’s resources that are available for each session. I love the simple activities included and the ways they encourage children to show and share what they’ve learned with their family. 

But, as a parent, I’ve found it takes just a bit of intentionality to make good use of these wonderful resources. Here are three simple ways Dwell coordinators can encourage parents in this faith-formative opportunity:

  1. Sometimes parents don’t know how to use the materials that are coming home. A ministry highlight is a great way to broadcast this information. Briefly introduce Dwell and then focus on the children’s resources, giving parents a few suggestions for using them at home.
  2. When I was a coordinator, I can’t tell you the number of times I found the children’s resources lying around our church at the end of Sunday morning. A simple way to avoid this? Encourage your leaders to give the papers to parents instead of to the children, especially in your younger Dwell groups.
  3. Each week or month, give parents a suggestion for using the children’s resources. Here are seven great ideas you can paste right into your bulletin or email to parents as a, “Monthly Tip for Using your Dwell Children’s Resources”:
    1. Schedule it! Life with kids is busy. One way to make sure you’ll get to something is to add it to the family calendar. Schedule a “Dwell review night” on a particular day each week so that this time becomes a part of your regular routine. Work around this night when you structure your week. Plan a simple crockpot meal or leftovers for dinner so you have more time to talk about what your kids explored in Sunday school or children’s ministry.
    2. Keep things organized. Each Sunday, place all the resources your kids bring home from children’s ministry in a folder at home. Then each night after dinner, pull out a different child’s paper and let them share about what they learned that week. This is a great way for larger families to give each child an opportunity to share what they’re learning and teach other family members.
    3. Make them into a book. If your child is in one of the younger levels (Play, Imagine or Wonder), punch a hole in their paper each week and collect them on a ring. Place the collection on your child’s bookshelf to be pulled out regularly as you would any book.
    4. Store papers where you’ll use them. When you get home from church, place the paper under your child’s pillow. Then they are easily accessible for morning or evening devotions. Show your child where you’ve placed the paper, and ask them to help you remember to look at it each day.
    5. Build on established patterns. Does your family have a weekly game night? Start this time each week with God’s Big Story cards, a faith nurture game that includes all the stories covered in the Dwell curriculum. Challenge your child to see how quickly they can find the card that matches their children’s resource (both will have the same story symbol). 
    6. Hold a family show and tell. At the Imagine and Wonder levels the children’s resource is called a Show and Share paper. Plan a Show and Tell time every Sunday night, asking your child to Show and Tell you 1-2 things about their paper, the story they heard that week, or anything else from their Dwell time.
    7. Store them in your Bible. Tuck the Storymark your grade 4 or 5 child brings home into the family Bible (or ask them to find that week’s passage and stick it there). This will be a helpful prompt for you to look up and read the story together. 

As a parent, I’m always amazed by the wonderful conversations I have with my children as we read through their children’s resource. Papers that find their way into the garbage or are left in the church pew are missed opportunities. Regularly using Dwell’s children’s resources requires a little bit of intentionality, but the results will have an enormous impact on your child’s faith formation.

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