"Explain to children that we can choose to use this outbreak as an opportunity to share the love and the hope of God with those who are afraid and hurting," say Elvin and Esther Foong of The Treasure Box SG. Photo by Hisu lee on Unsplash.

What do you tell young children who grapple with the concept of a benevolent, omnipotent God in a crisis like the coronavirus outbreak?

Elvin and Esther Foong, founders of The Treasure Box SG, a start-up focused on helping parents build faith-filled families in Singapore, suggests these ways you can answer children’s tough questions truthfully, while reassuring them of a good, good Father.

How are young children reacting to the whole outbreak situation now? What are their concerns?

Kids’ primary source of information – and therefore the primary motivator of how they actually respond – comes directly from their parents and caregivers.

Their concerns will depend largely on how they perceive the adults around them are reacting. If there is fear and lots of emotion at home, then they’re likely to inherit that same fear.

Conversely, if their parents choose to deal with the outbreak in a calm and rational manner, chances are that they’ll behave the same way too.

How do we explain the situation to our children factually, without creating anxiety?

Firstly, it’s important to do our own research. We need to know what the facts are, before we can pass them on to our kids.

Secondly, we need to present the facts as they are. Yes, nCoV is highly infectious, but there are many ways we can protect ourselves from getting infected. Focus on teaching the latter.

There are lots of resources available online that are great for kids to learn more about the virus and the benefits of proper hygiene.

Lastly, we must also be mindful not to pass down inaccurate perspectives about other people groups based on half-truths and hearsay.

“If parents choose to deal with the outbreak in a calm and rational manner, chances are the children will behave the same way too,” say Elvin and Esther. All photos courtesy of Elvin and Esther Foong unless otherwise stated.

How do we explain our faithful, omnipotent God in light of the outbreak?

The outbreak is not a sign that God is no longer good, or that He’s upset with us.

God’s goodness is in His nature and His character, which the Bible tells us does not change like the shifting shadows.

Disasters and diseases are simply the reflection of the world we live in, a world that is broken by sin and ruled by the devil.

God does not take delight in the pain and suffering that we go through. However, we can choose to use this outbreak as an opportunity to share the love and the hope of God with those who are afraid and hurting.

In the end, what really matters is that God gets all the glory, and more people get to know about Him!

What Scripture and biblical principles are useful and reassuring for children?

John 16:33 is a beautiful promise from Jesus Himself: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

God’s goodness is in His nature and His character, which the Bible tells us does not change like the shifting shadows.

Even though we might experience trouble and difficulty in this world, we can still be courageous because He has overcome or won the victory over every trouble we will face.

John 14:27 is another Scripture that is reassuring in these times: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus is preparing to go the Cross, and His disciples are about to be scattered and persecuted. And yet Jesus promises His peace, a peace that we can’t find from anywhere or anyone else in the world.

That’s how confident we can be in the midst of difficulty too.

How may adults lead our children in prayer at this time?

Start with being thankful: Thank God for good health; for the ability to still go to work and school; that we have a good government that is making sure we have enough food and medical supplies.

Then lift up those who are affected by the outbreak to God:

  • Those who have been infected; our frontline healthcare workers; those who still do their jobs every day so that we can still have a safe and normal life, like bus drivers, food operators and teachers.
  • Pray for our leaders, that they would have the wisdom to make good decisions for our country.
  • Pray for China, where the outbreak is the worst and people are dying. Pray for the people of Wuhan and Hubei, who are quarantined in their city and can’t go anywhere. Pray for God’s love to reach them.

How do we explain why some churches are suspending children’s church, and the need to stay at home on Sundays?

Explain that these are temporary measures. Going to church is important, because that’s where we can learn more about God and also be with other Christians. But we also want to use the wisdom that God has given to us to make good decisions.

In this case, children and the elderly are most affected by the virus. To prevent the virus from infecting children, some churches have stopped running children’s church.

But we can still worship God even when we’re not in church. He’s everywhere! And He loves it when we choose to praise Him.

Parents can also use this opportunity to start doing family devotions at home with their children, and learning about God together!

Elvin and Esther Foong

Elvin and Esther Foong have been married since 2008, and are Papa and Mama to Nathan (9) and Phoebe (7). Elvin served as a full-time children’s programmes coordinator in a local church, while Esther has had more than a decade of experience in education. Their personal vision is to see a generation of spiritually healthy families rise up and display Jesus’ love to a lost and broken world.

'A' is for Amen!

“What if ‘A’ was not for ‘apple’, but for ‘amen’ – a word that signals our earthly agreement with God’s perfect will? What if ‘F’ was not for ‘frog’, but ‘forgiven’? What if children first learnt who they are and Whose they are?” ask Elvin and Esther Foong, the founders of Treasure Box SG (TTB).

Their dream for TTB was to create engaging family devotionals that help families build their faith together – all delivered to you in a box (hence the name of the company). 

To that end, the couple quit their civil servant jobs to focus on TTB and conduct children’s ministry workshops in churches.


One of the treasure boxes created by TTB is the First Things First Family Devotional Flashcards for preschoolers that “teach kids the words that truly matter, and the concepts that will have an eternal impact”. Every word is accompanied by a Bible verse, devotional thought and simple prayer.

Also available is a Fruit of the Spirit activity book for “parents who want to spend time learning from God’s Word and praying together as a family, but didn’t know how or where to start”. 

The activity book is a 10-week journey for families to learn about the fruit of the Spirit together by Reading, Reflecting, Responding and Reinforcing. 

It includes activity sheets, stickers, certificate of completion, teaching resources and a parents’ guide book. 

The My Best Friend Family Devotional Box is a four-lesson package with resources, including teaching guides, crafts, magnets and markers designed to help children know more about Jesus, the Best Friend anyone could ever have.

To order the boxes or contact the Foongs for children’s workshops, go to:

Website: www.thetreasurebox.sg

IG: @thetreasureboxsg

FB: The Treasure Box Singapore

Check the website for special discounts on the family devotional resources during this time, especially to help those who need to stay home.

About the author

Juleen Shaw

Salt&Light Managing Editor Juleen hails from the newsrooms of Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp Publishing. She has had two encounters with baptismal pools. The first was at age four when her mother, who was holding her hand, tripped and fell into the church baptismal pool, taking Juleen with her. The second was when she actually chose to get baptised.