how to, prayer

Tips for calming the worried child

We are approaching the unknown of a very dangerous storm quickly headed towards North Carolina. I have lived in North Carolina my whole life (minus four years of graduate school in Pennsylvania). My parents weren’t even born when Hazel hit in 1954, but I have heard of her disaster. I lived through Fran and Floyd, and many smaller storms throughout the years. Florence is different. She is currently projected as a Category 4 storm, the first one for North Carolina since Hazel. So this past weekend and week has been busy watching and praying and prepping.

One of my besties lives at the coast. She has endured many a storms in her life as well. Yesterday she sent me a message that she is not going to be riding out the storm in her home and she was anxious. Her five year old has been worrying for days. Despite continued conversations, she wasn’t sure how to calm him? I offered her some advice and for the most part it can be applied to most worry for children. (Let it be noted that I am not blogging about children who suffer from generalized anxiety on a continuous basis. These are the random moments when fear attempts to overcome our children).

In the case of my friend, I reminded her to talk with her son about what specific things he is worried about. Often times children will use the language of what they hear around them but that actually isn’t what they are feeling. Use a face emotion chart and ask your child to pick the face that matches how they feel. This is also a great way to teach emotions to our children.

For my little buddy, he just couldn’t stop talking about the storm. So I urged my friend to give her son an assignment. He has officially been given the job of Storm Prayer Warrior. I told her to speak with him about how dangerous the storm is, but God offers us protection. We have to be wise and listen to the warnings all around us, but we can pray also. As the Storm Prayer Warrior, she needed him to pray that all of his friends and family would be safe during the storm. Honestly, the prayers of a child often pierce my heart like no other. He can pray however he wants as the official Storm Prayer Warrior. The point is to turn his focus away from the negative and give him a positive assignment.

So here are a few helpful tips for managing childhood worry:

  • talk with your child about the specific point of worry.
  • use a face emotion chart to clarify exactly what emotion they are feeling (google emotion chart).
  • give them an assignment (with a special job title) that take the focus off the negative aspect of the particular point of worry.
  • remind them to pray always. It is never too early to begin teaching scriptures that point to peace and calmness. A few of my favorites are:
    • Psalm 18:2. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
    • 2 Timothy 1:7. for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
    • Philippians 4:8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


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