Got missing kids this summer? How to stay in touch with them and the single parent


Missing Kids?


Many children’s ministers and church volunteers will notice there are some children that seem to drop out over the summer months. Perhaps these are children who miss periodically but this summer you haven’t seen them for four or five weeks. These might very well be the children of divorce.

Many divorced parents take advantage of summer months to have their children come and stay with them over an extended period of time. Even if you have children from joint custody arrangements, they may still elect to spend several weeks with the other parent. The other parent probably doesn’t attend your church.

It might be that the custodial parent is struggling to find childcare so their children are visiting the grandparents for an extended time. There are many reasons children from divorced homes might miss during the summer months.

Why should you and how do you stay in contact with them?

First of all it is important for the child of divorce to know that you truly care about them. They need to know they matter. They need to know they matter enough that you care to find out where they are and when they are going to return. They need encouragement in the relationship they have with church people.

Even if a child or their single parent explains they will be gone for several weeks, it is still important to contact them periodically during the summer months. Here are some ways to keep the relationship ongoing and alive.

  • Before the child leaves for their extended stay, purchase a journaling book they can take with them. Add a few scriptures to different pages. Don’t tell them about the scriptures but let them find them on their own. Throw in a couple of kid jokes too. That will bring a smile to their faces.
  • Each week give a call to the home they live in when at your church and leave a message for the child. The single parent they live with can tell the child about the message. It will still say they matter even if they don’t actually hear the message. If permissible, call the place where they are staying.
  • When calling the single parent home, be sure to say something encouraging to the single parent. Remember they may be lonely with their children gone for an extended time.
  • If the child has a phone, text a short message such as the Sunday scripture each week.
  • Send the single parent at home without the kids a text periodically.
  • Get creative and send the child a card the old fashioned way – in the mail. Kids still like to get mail. Of course this means you have to plan ahead and get the address of the place where they will be staying this summer. Even if you can’t send them a card to the place they are staying during the summer, send it to their home address. They will be delighted to come home to a stack of cards.
  • If possible try Skyping or do a Facetime call. It only needs to be 2 or 3 minutes. One that says, “Hey how are you doing? Having fun? Glad you get to spend this time away but we sure miss you. I want to hear all about your summer vacation when you get back.

If possible find a two-parent family or a grandparent kind of family that can adopt the single parent over the summer. Encourage them to invite the single parent to dine with them on Sunday after the services. Or invite the single parent to an outdoor concert in the park.

If you don’t have time to do these things yourself, assign it to one of the volunteers. The main thing is the child and their single parent need to understand the church family is thinking about them.

What have you done to encourage a child of divorce during the summer months.


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