Catechists and catechetical leaders are always searching for ways of connecting with parents of the children in their religious education programs. We all know that parents are pulled in a million different directions, which means that connecting with them in person is not always feasible. One of the lessons we learned from the pandemic (hopefully!) is how to connect with people virtually. There are many simple ways we can connect with parents online to share important information, to offer support for forming their children in faith, or to enrich their own faith and spirituality. Here are just a few ideas:
- Send parents, on a weekly or monthly basis, a link to an episode of Pop-Up Catechesis—a series of short videos I’ve created to help parents form their children in faith and to enrich their own faith lives. There are nearly 140 episodes of Pop-Up Catechesis archived for your convenience.
- Do the same as above with episodes of Pop-Up Prayer—another series of brief videos, in which I interview Loyola Press authors and prominent pastoral ministers, who share their insights about prayer. Many catechetical leaders and catechists include a link to Pop-Up Catechesis and/or Pop-Up Prayer along with other important information in a digital newsletter they send to parents on a regular basis.
- Record your own brief videos to send to parents. All episodes of Pop-Up Catechesis are homemade on my cell phone—very low tech! If anything, the experience of the pandemic lowered the bar in regards to the technology needed for creating and sharing videos, as people everywhere learned to rely on their own mobile devices and laptops to record and send videos to others or even to appear on TV!
- Record and send brief presentations with a common videoconference tool. Folks do not need to be live for every presentation. You can set up a meeting via Zoom or a similar tool, share your screen to show slides, and record the session. After the session, arrange to share the recording with parents.
- Create accounts on social media for your religious education program (or for your own class if you’re a catechist—with the catechetical leader’s approval), in which you share information with parents.
- Host a Facebook Live event to connect with parents. Facebook Live is a feature that uses the camera on your computer or mobile device to broadcast real-time video. You can use this feature to broadcast to parents either a presentation you are doing or a presentation, song, or play the children are performing. Keep in mind any releases or permission forms needed before posting names, images, or videos of program participants online.
These ideas just scratch the surface! Today, we can use any number of tools to connect with parents. What are some of the ways you connect with parents virtually?