Talking to Children About Disasters!

Check out this article written by healthychildren.org that is relevant to what MANY kids are facing in the United States these days with all the events that are occurring! ChildrensMinistry.com also talks about this manner. 


Talking to Children about Disasters

Children can cope more effectively with a disaster when they feel they understand what is happening and what they can do to help protect themselves, family, and friends. Provide basic information to help them understand, without providing unnecessary details that may only alarm them.

  • Very Young Children: Provide concrete explanations of what happened and how it will affect them (e.g., a tree branch fell on electrical wires and that is why the lights do not work). Let children know there are many people who are working to help them and their community to recover after a disaster (such as repair crews for the electric company, or firefighters, police, paramedics, or other emergency personnel). Share with them all of the steps that are being taken to keep them safe; children will often worry that a disaster will occur again.
  • Older Children: They will likely want, and benefit from, additional information about the disaster and recovery efforts. No matter what age, start by asking children what they already know and what questions they have and use that as a guide for the conversation.Limit media coverage of the disaster—if children are going to watch media coverage, consider taping it (to allow adults to preview) and watch along with them to answer questions and help them process the information. While children may seek and benefit from basic information about what happened so that they can understand what is happening in their world, they (and adults) do not benefit from graphic deils or exposure to disturbing images or sounds. In the aftermath of a crisis is a good time to disconnect from all media and sit down together and talk as a family.

Be sure to ask children what questions or concerns they have. Often they have fears based on limited information or because they misunderstood what they were told. Reassure children when able to do so, but if their fears are realistic, do not give false reassurance. Instead, help them learn how to cope with these feelings. See the following articles for more information:

How Parents Can Help Children Cope:

After a disaster or crisis, children benefit from adults who can help them learn how to cope effectively. Although it is not useful for adults to appear overwhelmed by the event, it is helpful for them to share some of their feelings and what they are doing to deal with those feelings. Children cannot be expected to cope with troubling feelings if no one models effective coping. Allow children to "own" their feelings.

  • Let your child know that it is all right to be upset about something bad that happened. Use the conversation to take the opportunity to talk about other troubling feelings your child may have. A child who feels afraid is afraid, even if adults think the reason for the fear is unnecessary.
  • If you feel overwhelmed and/or hopeless, look for some support from other adults before reaching out to your child. See the following articles for more information:
  • Don't feel obligated to give a reason for what happened. Although adults often feel the need to provide a reason for why someone committed such a crime, many times they do not know. It is okay to tell your child that you do not know why at this time such a crime, for example, was committed.
  • Allow children to express their regrets over "secondary losses"(without accusing them of being selfish) and help them figure out ways to minimize the impact or find alternatives. Children are not only trying to deal with the disaster, but with everything else that follows. They may have to relocate, at least temporarily, and could be separated from friends or unable to attend the same school. Parents may have less income and the change in finances may impact their ability to participate in activities they enjoyed or travel to visit family out of town.
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Let's get walkin'

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Did you know that every year NAD VBS picks a mission project to sponsor? They encourage kids to collect donations to help other kids in need! (Find out more here: Operation Wheels)

This year, our VBX (Vacation Bible Experience), Cactusville, is featuring "Operation Wheels". Operation Wheels is a Kids-helping-kids Refugee Mission project. 

In 2016, nearly 85,000 refugee came to the United States! Arizona, where Operation Wheels funds are headed, is in the top 6 in the nation of states that receive refugees!

We are so excited about this mission project that we decided it was time that not only the children raised funds, but we did too! Children's Ministries of the North American Divison is encouraging our directors, presenters, SS teachers, parents, and staff to participate in a Walk-a-thon!

So here is how it work!

What? A walk-a-thon. Simply get people to sponsor your activity! (Ex; $.50 per lap or mile, $5.00 per lap or mile). Here is the petition for you can use: Petition Form

Who? YOU! That's right. If you love children, and are passionate about Operation Wheels and what everything that Operation Wheels does... You're in!

Where? Right where you are. Just pick a spot, and start walking. Use an app to track your progress. Here's a list of a few good ones: List of Apps

When? From now until December 31st. Choose a day that works best for you or your family! 

How? Use #OperationWheelsVBX to promote and push this initiative on your social media pages! Wear your shirts (Order your shirt by emailing katibritton@nadadventist.org --Just $10 a shirt) and start asking around for sponsors! 

WE ARE SO EXCITED!

We've been working hard to keep you current on latest news, stories, and resources for your homes and churches and we are just so excited to spread the word.

Our friend, Henry Guerra, has recorded a promotional video for us to share! So if you're trying to get people to learn more about Children's Ministries... we invite you to share this video! And we even have it in Spanish too!

Check it out! 

It's here!

Yes! You read that correctly! We are done with our Children's Sabbath 2017 materials and they're ready for you to download for FREE!

CLICK HERE for all the pieces to an excellent Children's Sabbath program for your church!

Remember to take lots of pictures and use #ChildrensSabbath2017 on your pictures on social media for us to see how it's going!

Inclusive.

Group publishing put out a little booklet called "Children's Ministry pocket guide to Special Needs". It's a little, but very informative booklet that highlights quick tips to reach every single child. Whether it be in your Sabbath school class, day care, on the streets or at home.

The book starts off with "General Tips for Teachers" and I think it's IMPERATIVE to share these with you! (However, you should definitely read this entire booklet on your own!)

  • Understand that a child with special needs has the same spiritual needs as other children.
  • Talk with the parents about what can make the child feel more comfortable. Learn the child's favorite songs, Bible stories, or activities. 
  • Learn about the child's special needs. Most teachers want to help but just don't know how.
  • Use visuals-- simple listening to stories is hard for a child with special needs.
  • Experiment to find out what works best for the child.
  • Stability and routine are crucial. The simplest change in routine can be traumatic for a child (depending on the disability)
  • Remember that children with special needs are more like other children then they are different from them.
  • Be aware that most curriculum and activities can be modified or adapted to involve all the children in the classroom routines. 

Out of all these tips, there are TWO that stuck out the most to me.

1. "Learn about the child's special needs."

Did you know that "Up to one-third of parents of kids with learning disabilities don't feel prepared to take on the challenge? 

  • 35 percent have serious concerns about their ability to cope with their children’s learning issues. These parents feel isolated, guilty, stressed and worried about their children’s future.
  • 31 percent have conflicting feelings. These parents accept their children’s issues, but aren’t sure how to find or ask for help. They feel stressed, admit to being impatient with their children and are worried about their children’s future.
  • 34 percent are optimistic about their ability to cope. These parents feel able to take on the challenges and be good advocates for their children. They don’t feel guilty, are able to manage stress and have ways of dealing with their kids’ learning and attention issues.

Statistics from understood.org

This is why creating awareness of what it means to have a learning disability, or special needs is so important. The internet and libraries are filled with information on what exactly it means to "be on the spectrum," or "have an extra chromosome" and so much more. I encourage you to take the time to explore and read. 

When a child with special needs or a learning disability enters your classroom, ask their parents "What is he/she good at?" "What is their favorite thing to do?" Focus on their strengths and positives.

2. "Remember that children with special needs are more like other children then they are different from them."

LOVED THIS TIP! Inclusion is imperative in your classrooms and homes. Make everyone feel welcomed, love and cared for. All these kids want is to feel like they're "part of the family!"

At Children's Ministries in the North American Division, we have taken on the task to inform you as much as we can! With articles written by professionals and parents going through the challenges, we will constantly be providing you with resources on how you can improve your church or home's environment to create an INCLUSIVE one.