Building loving connections during lockdown

We are in a time when we are physically distancing ourselves from each other to slow the spread of COVID-19. These stay-at-home measures are for the protection of our families and others. Lockdown has revealed, however, a need we all have: social connection. Relationships strengthen our emotional well-being. We all still need each other. Responsive relationships are what help buffer us against the effects of ongoing stress.

The First Thousand Days (FTD) is a once-in-a-lifetime window of brain development within a child. Baby needs the core building blocks of stimulation, a sense of safety, stimulation, nutrition and healthcare – all provided in the context of responsive, nurturing care giving (love). For parents and caregivers to do this, they themselves need to be in supportive relationships. When they are in a modern-day village, being seen, encouraged and strengthened, they can provide what their child needs. In this way, community is part of helping children reach their God-given potential.

Lockdown Toolkit

Resources to help you support families during the
COVID-19 pandemic.View »

The challenge facing families

This worldwide pandemic has had a profound impact on the whole of society: no one is unaffected. Parents and caregivers are holding the responsibility of raising their young children at the same time as facing unique challenges of this time: potentially losing jobs or income, food insecurity, health concerns, limited access to healthcare. These personal stresses and fears, at a time of limited support from community, means that caregivers can feel alone, unsafe and unable to consistently provide the responsive, nurturing care that the young child needs. We all need relationships to help us deal with stress.

What is needed for parents and their children to move from surviving to thriving is interaction with someone who cares, who encourages, who supports them. These responsive, loving connections help mom, dad or caregiver be emotionally stronger and be able to attend to their child’s needs. This is an area where everyday Christ-followers can be actively creating community for families, even during lockdown. Information alone does not change people. Relationships marked by love – even at a distance – will have profound positive effects on the wellbeing of the family.

We picture Christ-followers across South Africa actively reaching out to families in their churches and neighbourhoods. Through these loving connections being formed, families are strengthened and supported. Families (mothers, fathers, caregivers) feel seen, heard, and part of a greater community. Through the simple, yet intentional, actions of believers, isolation is broken, loneliness overcome and families having a growing sense that they can do it.

You don’t have to be a professional counselor or expert on the First Thousand Days. You simply need to reach out and love your neighbour (Mark 12:31), intentionally caring and supporting them in this time. You just have to be a friend; listening, caring, praying and encouraging them as they care for their child(ren). You are not the saviour, the solver of problems, but a kind friend, who shows 1 Corinthians 13 love through this season.

Jo, The Bay City Church