Welcome to spring! It’s here…tornado season. The first day of spring was Friday, March 20th, and Wednesday night after getting all the children home from school, we knew that some storms could be headed our way. The next thing I knew, the sirens were going off, my phone kept ringing, and texts kept coming in asking us if we were okay. I stayed calm, knowing that we would be fine. But my children were scared to death! So I took the normal precautions and got stuff together, and kept watching the meteorologist’s forecast. But my children grew more and more anxious.
Storms are scary, especially for children. So how can we help them? Here are five ways to calm a child during the storm!
- Get Prepared…Being prepared is very important! Have your children get a comfy (such as a blanket, baby doll, stuffed animal, baseball)…something that they enjoy or maybe even sleep with. Help them understand that just as they are taking care of their ‘comfy,’ you will take care of them….and God will take care of all of us! It’s important to get prepared for safety. As you are getting the flashlights, blankets, and snacks, let them help you. Try to make it quick and fun! My children were worried about the dogs. So I respected what they were worried about, and put the dogs in the bathroom with us. Of course, we wanted our dogs to be safe during the storm also.:-) But understanding that their worry is real is so important!
- Communicate…Explain to them what is going on. They don’t need to know all the details or the severity of the storm, but we watch the weather, and children just don’t understand. If they don’t understand their little minds can make it worse than it really is…explain to them where you are located on the map, and where the storm is, and where the storm is possibly going. Even if it is headed your way, they are better to know and understand, and see that you are calm. Again, explain to them that ‘we are protected by an amazing God’. Children will ask questions…they are scared and don’t understand. Be patient and explain to them what is happening, why the sirens are going off, and why the weatherman is telling us to take cover. I know that when I am watching the weather and trying to listen….that seems to be when they want to ask the questions. Don’t just “ssh or shush” them. Tell them just a minute and you will answer their questions. Explain that you need to listen.
- PRAY! Use this time to pray to the Lord and ask for protection. Wednesday night I prayed over my children, and during my prayer I taught my children that the house, car, and daddy’s work building are just stuff, and that can always be replaced. Our safety is what’s important. I prayed Ephesians 6 over the children and asked for protection and safety to surround the children.
- Teach about others… Help them not focus on themselves…by teaching them to focus on other people and other children. My daughters had some friends who were home alone, so we texted their friends a prayer to help calm them down and remind them that our God is in control. We talked about other families and other children. During the storm, we had a gymnastics building get hit and it was full of children, and the families couldn’t get to their children down in the basement. We prayed for the mommies, daddies, grandmas, and grandpas who couldn’t get to their children, and we also prayed for the children…knowing that they were scared. I’m thankful that the children and staff at the gymnastics facility were safe! And thankful for a God who provides!!!
- Perfect time to teach the Truth…Jesus Calms the Storm Mark 4:35-41 35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Jesus can calm the storm!
I believe it’s important to explain to my kids that people do get hurt during the storms. But since we have no control, we must rely on the Lord to provide us with safety. I expressed to my kids that when Jesus stood up in the boat, he asked the disciples why they had such little faith… The disciples were trying to control the boat, the sails, even taking a basket and dumping the water out of the boat so they didn’t sink. But they forgot to pray… We should pray and believe that safety will be provided.
Storms are scary…but teaching our children about the Bible, and teaching our children to pray and rely on the Lord can help them overcome their fears.