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Are You Disaster-Prepared?

Mary Davis


Make a plan to meet kids' needs. Follow this step-by-step guide if disaster strikes.

1. Locate needy children. List directly affected families who need immediate help and list children in each family.

2. Personally visit each home. Report specific needs and any progress at meeting those needs.

3. Talk openly and regularly in classrooms. Even when the teacher is tired of hearing about the disaster, children may not be ready to stop talking about it.

4. List children's prayer needs. Then pray for children, families, and agencies helping children's families.

5. Remember the little things. Send letters, cards, or small gifts to encourage children.

6. Recruit children. Older kids can offer free child care, plan play-days for toddlers, sponsor a family night with movies and popcorn, collect food and clothing, or have a bake sale to buy necessary items for victims. Kids will feel better if they can contribute also.

7. Be creative. Have children develop puppet plays about the disaster and recovery. Help the class write and perform skits to role play emotions. Lead the children in making up songs, poems, or prayers that express their experience. Provide tape recorders for children to interview each other. Provide an outlet for emotions through creative play such as drawing, painting, or playing with clay.

8. Give kids control in the classroom. Provide dolls and stuffed animals for children to comfort. Completion-oriented activities such as puzzles will give the children a sense of control.

9. Maintain a routine. Kids' lives are in chaos, and they long for some sense of order. Encourage your teachers to make class time more structured than usual so kids know what to expect each time they come.

Mary Davis works with children in Iowa.

Excerpted from Children's Ministry Magazine. Subscribe today!

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