How to prepare children for natural disasters

August 6, 2019

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods are a part of life for people in North Carolina. But for children, times like these can be frightening and overwhelming. Knowing how to talk with children about natural disasters is important for parents, family members, church teachers and leaders.

Your Presence
First, reassure your child of your presence during a storm. Your calm demeanor that models safety and security is crucial to your child’s healthy handling of an event. Be open to answering their questions as best you can. Use age appropriate language and descriptions to help your child understand what is happening without overloading them with fearful imagery or too much information. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I trust that God is in control.”

God’s Presence
Use Scripture to assure your child of God’s control and presence even in difficult times. Read or post verses such as Psalms 121:4-5, Psalms 56:3-4, Isaiah 54:10, Matthew 10:30-31 or 1 Peter 5:7. Memorize some of these verses so you are prepared to say them to your child, or memorize them as a family before an event so your child has Scripture to stand on during difficult times.

Their Perspective
Limit exposure to television or internet reports of the storm or disaster. Younger children may not realize that coverage of the event is only a replay of one event and not multiple occurrences of similar disastrous events. Find healthy distractions such as board games, art projects or reading to pass the time, especially if the power goes out.

Know that different children will handle fear and anxiety in different ways. One child may express obvious anxiety while another may process it internally. Do not assume a child who is not outwardly expressing fear or anxiety does not need help or comfort.

Your child may ask the same question multiple times or in many different ways. Your consistent answers offered patiently reassure your child they can trust you and that truth exists even in difficult times.

Importance of Planning
Talk with your child about ways your family can help those who are hurting in the aftermath of a natural disaster. A plan for helping can lend a sense of control to children during a time when the world seems to be out of control. Planning for disaster is also a great way to teach problem solving skills to children. Let them brainstorm about possible needs and ways they can help address those needs.

Power of Prayer
An important tool for confronting fear and anxiety is prayer. This can be a time for teaching the importance of a relationship with God and how we can trust that God hears our prayers. Be sure to point out how God answers their prayers in the coming weeks and months following a natural disaster.

Remember that children need to know that both you and God are near. Your calm presence models the continual presence of God in their lives. Just as Jesus used a storm to show His disciples His power and strength, use natural disasters to point your children to the God of the universe.


by Cheryl Markland  
/  Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Will you ‘Fill the Tank’ on Sept. 12?

One of the things I like to do when I visit churches is peek at their baptistries. I often see baptistries that are full, but they are full of Christmas and Easter decorations. Through the years, I’ve seen some baptistries that don’t look like they’ve been used in years. In every...

Top 5 resources for August 2021

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Listening — a road map for evangelism

In my first year of ministry, I spent a week in the summer at Caswell with a group of youth from Riverside Baptist Church, the church I pastored in Bertie County. There, I met Mark, a volunteer youth leader who brought three teens from the church he served. The afternoon of our...

What happened when 1 pastor designed a service around baptism

Phil Goble Jr. didn’t like how baptism was often tacked onto the end of a worship service, so he decided to do something different. “Baptism is more than just being dunked and sat on a pew,” said Goble, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Hayesville. “It is a public...

Resolution submission deadline is Sept. 10

The deadline to submit resolutions for consideration by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Committee on Resolutions and Memorials is quickly approaching. In accordance with state convention bylaws, proposed resolutions must be submitted to the committee in...

How to make baptism services memorable

Baptism is a major celebration in the Baptist church. The Baptist Faith and Message describes baptism this way: “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s...

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry Your gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) provide for vital health screenings to underserved individuals which, in turn, opens the door for gospel proclamation across North Carolina. This ministry, operated by...

3 questions to ask when parenting based on strengths

3 questions to ask when parenting based on strengths Working with families who have teenagers at home is always a novel and often difficult experience. As one youth leader said after returning home from summer camp, “We are dealing with very hard situations, such as homosexually,...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the Childhood Ministry newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!