Oklahoma Tornadoes: Responding to Children’s Fears


Take refuge

Take refuge in the Lord

 The Psalmist says,

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
   for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
   until the destroying storms pass by.”

As soon as I heard about the tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area, I immediately texted my friend, Barry, to make sure that he was safe.  In his response he shared with me that elementary schools were hit.  Immediately my heart sunk as I thought about my own years teaching young children who depended on me to keep them safe at school.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Oklahoma who have experienced one of the most devastating tornado events in history.  Consoling children following a traumatic event can be overwhelming to the adults caring for them.  If you are looking for resources to support children following a crisis or disaster, or even during a crisis, you may find these links helpful:

Comprehensive Resource List

A Resource List for Helping Children Cope with Disasters – GBOD

Pamphlet for Ministers, Teachers, and Parents

Helping Children Cope and Heal – GBOD

Videos and Audio Stories for Parents and Children

Helping Children Cope with Hurricane Sandy – Here and Now (PRI)

Fred Rogers on Scary News from PBS

Elmo Explains Hurricane Sandy – Brian Lehrer and Sesame Street

Articles for Teachers, Parents, and Ministers

Helping Children Cope After A Traumatic Event from Child Mind Institute

Helping Children Cope with Frightening News from Child Mind Institute

Helping Children Cope with Trauma and Stress by Jamie Howard, PhD

Talking with Children and Youth Following Traumatic Events – from Project Heartland

Talking to Children About Natural Disasters – American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Resources for AFTER the Event 

Planning for Post-Disaster Reconstruction with Children – from Save the Children

Resources for Preschools

Preschool Planning and Response – NAEYC

Books for Children

Water Bugs & Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Franklyn M. Branley

To Everything by Bob Barner

Humphrey’s Bear by Jan Wahl, and illustrated by William Joyce

Hurricane by David Wiesner

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams