3 Tips on Helping Kids Deal With Fear

1

Fear (1)It’s amazing the things people believe, and there
are times when we can be downright gullible. For example, several
weeks ago, many Facebook users bought into the rumor that suggested you could simply post
a legal notice on your account in order to protect your copyright
or privacy rights.  And how many of you avoided drinking Coke
and eating Pop Rocks at the same time because you didn’t want to die like the LIFE cereal kid?

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This week, you may hear your kids (or even some confused adults)
talk about the end-of-the-world doomsday that some believe will
occur this Friday, December 21.  The story in a nutshell is
that because the Mayan calendar comes to an end on that day, so
will the world.

The thing is, we’re not called to a spirit of fear. If your kids are scared
because of the so-called Mayan doomsday or tell you they’re afraid
of some other situation, here are three tips you can use to help
them deal with their fears.

***

1. Take them seriously. Kids.govhas a fantastic article which explains to kids the
falsehood of the Mayan doomsday, as well as some great tips for
parents and leaders on helping kids deal with any kind of fear. The
first tip is to take their fears seriously. Instead of telling kids
that they are being silly and dismissing their fears, help them
educate themselves so they can overcome their fears.

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2. Identify their fear. Sometimes you just know
when something is bothering a child, even if the child doesn’t
straight-out tell you. Wes Fleming, an expert on ministering to
families, encourages children’s ministers to help kids identify
their fears. In
an article
he wrote on the subject, he suggests asking
open-ended questions like, “What’s going on? What are you feeling?”
rather than questions like, “Why did you say that?” or “Why are you
acting this way?” which can make kids hide their feelings. After
the child has opened up some, speculate about what the child is
feeling to encourage even more sharing. For example, ask, “Are you
afraid? A lot of children feel afraid when they see scary pictures
or hear scary things on TV.”

3. God is our shield. Kids can have legitimate
fears that cause them to worry. Here is a fun
game
to play that can help kids understand that God protects
us. Originally intended as a game to be played before Halloween,
this idea can be used anytime. Ask kids to name things that people
fear. Then explain that God is our shelter, using Psalm 91:1-10. Have a child dealing with fear
be “It.” Half the children will use their bodies to make a shelter
to protect “It,” and the other half will try to hit “It” with paper
wads. After two minutes of play, stop the action.

Ask kids the following questions: How do you think “It” felt in
the shelter? How easy or difficult was your job of protecting “It”?
How did your shelter compare with God’s shelter that Psalm
91 tells us about?

***

We have all fallen for scams or rumors. Luckily, we serve a God
who is the truth. How do you help kids overcome their fears? Have
any of your kids talked about the so-called Mayan doomsday? What do
you do when a parent has fears? Share with us in the comment
section below!

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

1 Comment

  1. Children's Ministry Magazine
    Helmut Egesa Wagabi on

    The "we" versus "them" notion helps inspire confidence in the kids as they learn that they are always secure in the arms of Christ (Mark 16:13-16). Those who do not know the Lord Jesus are very vulnerable to the troubles of life.

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