Streaming Into Christmas Vacation: How to Guide Families Through Today’s Stream of Online Content
Published: November 30, 2022
With Christmas vacation comes more down time—and screen time—for kids. This Christmas season, and all year long, partner with parents to help families stream good news of great joy into their homes.
Most children’s ministry leaders would agree: We want to equip parents and help families invite Jesus to be a part of their everyday lives at home. For families today, that includes their screen time!
For better or for worse, media plays a significant part in 21st century family life. More and more, streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ and social media sites like YouTube are delivering beloved, on-demand content for kids and families.
Understand kids’ streaming habits.
Children today are accustomed to watching what they want when they want it. Gone are the days of hurrying from the school bus in order to catch the beginning of a favorite show on TV. Now, on-demand entertainment invites kids (and their grown-ups) to watch their favorite shows over and over whenever they’d like.
Research confirms this media trend. A study from the United Talent Agency shows that kids’ entertainment consumption is growing. In fact, four of the five most popular movies on Netflix in 2021 were children’s titles.
And social media is no different. The study reveals that 85% of U.S. children ages 2-12 watch videos on YouTube. From January 2022 to June 2022 there has been a 15% increase in viewership of the top 10 monthly kids’ content on YouTube.
Remember, streaming is personal.
Remember, digital platforms like YouTube are not for “commercial use.” Their content is designed to be viewed by individuals or families in homes or on personal streaming devices. So bringing streaming content into our Christmas programs or services is not the way to go. (If this is surprising news to you, never fear. Check out 7 Things Musicians Wish You Knew About YouTube to learn more.)
But children’s ministry leaders can invite families to stream Jesus-centered content for their personal viewing. And what better time to do so than at Christmas!
This holiday season, when kids spend even more time cozied up at home, you can partner with parents and help them identify great media content for their kids. Here’s how:
Watch kids’ favorite shows.
First, carve out some time in your schedule to watch kids’ content on streaming platforms or on social media. It’s okay!—you’re still “working” as you watch. Watching kids’ content is one of the best ways for children’s ministry leaders to understand what it’s like to be a kid today.
As you watch, you’ll learn from expert content creators for kids. Notice the pace, their word choices, and the way they keep kids engaged. Take notes and compare the truth you share with kids on Sundays with messages they’re hearing throughout the rest of the week. Be open to learning more about the kids you lead as you watch their beloved movies and shows.
Share your favorite content to stream.
There’s clever, creative, and helpful streaming content for children and families out there. As their children’s ministry leader, help them find it! When you view something cool, send it to kids and families to watch together at home—where it’s intended to be watched. You could even provide a few questions for them to talk about after viewing. For example:
- What part did you like the best? Why did you like it so much?
- Did anything in that video remind you of Jesus? If so, what was it?
- What person in the video is most like you? Why?
Remember, Jesus often used real-world illustrations, eye-to-eye conversations, and everyday objects to explain eternal truths in fresh and surprising ways. Help families invite Jesus into their everyday viewing habits so even an episode of “Making Fun” or “Is It Cake?” can help families grow friendship with Jesus and each other.
Guide parents to help keep their kids safe.
Like a shepherd keeps sheep from danger, you can help kids and families steer clear of harmful streaming content. When sharing content on YouTube, remind parents of parental controls and guide them toward instructions and resources to help them. Encourage parents to watch with their children so they can help navigate through and away from ads and videos kids needn’t see.
Research and share information about parental controls on Netflix and Disney+, too.
Help families stream good news of great joy into their homes this Christmas. Check out the Lifetree Kids YouTube channel for great, faith-filled content for kids and families. You’ll find engaging Christmas music videos like these!
Remember, if you’d like to incorporate these Christmas music videos into your church programming, it’s not allowable to do this through YouTube. To browse Group’s library of music video downloads to purchase for use in your church, visit group.com/musicandvideodownloads.
Or, purchase Songs of the Christmas Story or More Songs of the Christmas Story. These four-week digital lesson series help kids celebrate Jesus through the music of Christmas!
© Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use or duplication permitted.