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5 Tips for Dealing with Disasters

Pray _OK 2Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this week's deadly tornados.

Kids are seeing the devastation on televisions and newspapers and are hearing adults talk about it. The children you work with may have difficulty understanding and processing a disaster like this. They may end up confused and full of questions.

The subject can be difficult to tackle, but it gives us a chance to grow closer to God. Here are five tips to help your children's ministry through this and any other disasters.

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1. Know what not to say. In a recent blog post, Christine Yount Jones gave quick tips of what to say...and what not to say as you minister to these children and families. Don't make guaranties such as, "This can't happen again." Avoid making false assurances. Instead, redirect kids to see God as their forever friend who will never leave them and who will be with them during every trial. Also included in this post is a link to a free copy of our Emergency Response Handbook for Children's Ministry, an excellent resource for when any kind of tragedy strikes.

2. Meet kids' needs. In her article, Are You Disaster-Prepared?, Mary Davis helps us understand how disaster effects children. She provides a 9-point checklist that will help you make sure you're meeting your kids' needs. One simple, but important thing you can do-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.

3. Be ready to provide relief. Although a disaster can be temporary, the damage it can cause can last a lifetime. Here's another great tool to help you respond to the needs of families facing tragedy: Group's Emergency Response Handbook for Disaster Relief. Written in partnership with the Salvation Army, this book will help you support survivors of crisis situations.

4. Let kids know they can make a difference. Sometimes, the best way to help kids cope with disaster is to let them know that they can help. Gordon West provides some great ways to help kids serve others and they can help you during times of disaster.

5. Teach kids how to pray.  We've talked about it before; teaching kids how to pray is a major step in helping them cope with disasters. Explain the importance of prayer and guide them as they pray for everyone who's been affected by tragedy, especially when it hits close to home.

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We want to hear from you. How are you talking about the tornados with your kids? Are you planning any service projects to help? Share with us in the comment section below.

Posted at 10:15

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