2020 has been quite a year, hasn't it?  Who would have dreamed we would see a virus cause this much hurt in the modern world we live in.  

It's not only been a complicated year for adults, but for kids and students as well.  

I believe we will look back and see that Covid-19 was a major shaping force for the next generation.  It may well be a defining experience for Gen Z and Gen Alpha.   

Today's kids have spent major time at home...quarantined away from their friends and in some cases even family members.  

The churches they attend have been closed off and on.  Instead of being able to see their friends at church, they have had to watch online from home.  

It's now normal for them to wear masks and have hand sanitizer "on hand" at all times when they are in public.  Washing your hands and using sanitizer happens multiple times each day.

Their schedules have been rearranged, their sports games cancelled or postponed and many have been learning from home instead of in person at school.

With what today's kids have been through, they don't take things for granted - particularly school and friends.  Recent studies say 35% of kids are worried about their friendships.  Many have kept in touch with technology, but are realizing it's not the same as face-to-face interaction.

One good thing that has come out of this - it has drawn families closer together.  One in three parents say they have gotten closer to their children during the times of lock downs.  

I believe today's kids will grow up and not take for granted their family and friends.  They have experienced seeing people they love pass away due to the virus.  Grandparents.  Teachers.  Uncles.  Aunts. Coaches.  Even a parent in some cases.

This generation of kids is developing deeper relationships with their parents.  With so many parents working from home, they are able to spend more time with their children during the day.

Interesting trend - since they are at home more, 46% of kids ages 6-to-11 are wearing their pajamas or gym clothes more than they are their regular clothes. They are also getting to sleep in longer with 53% of kids having a later wake up time.

Kids are also spending more time watching TV, playing video games and being on the world wide web.  And parents are joining in with them to binge watch shows.  And a recent poll revealed that 36% of parents are playing video games with their children more often. 

With many parents losing their jobs during this time of crisis, some kids are dealing with anxiety and fear. Help them see that God is in control and will meet the needs of their family.  They can trust Him.

It's important as children's ministry leaders that we are in tune with what today's kids and families are going through.  We can support them, pray for them and offer them encouragement. 

It is exciting to see how so many churches have switched to new methods and plans to reach and disciple kids and families in this new season.  Our message never changes, but how we share the message must change to be effective and relevant to the kids and families God has called us to reach. 

The greatest impact in kids and families' lives is you.  Thank you for loving and investing in the next generation. Thank you for being there to comfort, encourage and walk with them through these uncertain times.  God uses people like you to make a big impact...even when we face things like Covid-19.