Aotearoa New Zealand is one of the most wonderful countries in the world, and we're blessed to call it home. However, as we are all too aware, it can be a turbulent and unpredictable land.
The recent earthquakes of 2011, 2013 and now 2016 have reminded us of the powerful fault lines that run up and down the country, and whilst they can be a source of fear, worry and pain, we have seen the church rise up to share God's love and grace in these times. We have also been shaken by the recent terrorist attacks in Christchurch in March 2019, and in 2020 we're grappling with a nation wide lock down for COVID-19
Whilst we know that 'perfect love casts out fear' we sometimes need the tools and words to help comfort and encourage our kids and families in difficult times. There are some great resources and organisations who have put together some important resources, and we have listed some below.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
Some tips and resources to help kids understand and process what COVID-19 is.
Praying in difficult times
Print the file and cut out shapes to decorate a prayer space, prayer wall, make into a wreath, or attach to string to hang from the ceilings and walls of your home. In our COVID-19 lockdown, why not add a new heart each day?
We have also sent out a Strandz email with ideas and suggestions for responding well to these events
Resources for difficult times
Disaster and Trauma
How to talk to Children about Terrorism
Highlights the importance of asking questions, point out the heroes, use drawings, keeping things simple, and making space for hugs.
How to talk to kids about trauma
A NZ resource from the Parenting Place
Ministry of Health - Helping Children
Children have their own ways of dealing with trauma according to their stage of development.
10 Tips for helping children cope with disaster
From Save the Children
Helping Kids Cope with Disaster and Trauma
Information on Nigel Latta's GoldfishWisdom website. He also has a video talk called Safe and Sound (see right)
Supporting your Children/Teen after a stressful or traumatic event
An article from Skylight looking at how to support your child when they have witnessed or been caught up in distressing situations.
5 components of psychological first aid
Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?
National Youth Leaders advice
Some helpful links and tips on helping young people process this tragedy from our National youth leaders
Anxiety, stress and worry
The Worry Bug
Anxiety can impact children and families in many ways. This project seeks to recognise and address mild to moderate anxiety in homes and classrooms.
Take care of your children but don't forget yourself
Mental Health Foundation (2016)
Tips and clues for parents to look for, to gauge how their child is reacting to stress and worry.
Coping with stress and anxiety
Guidance for emergency response workers, health staff and volunteers on how to cope with stress and anxiety in an emergency situation, from Ministry of Health (2011)
Skylight have some fabulous resources to help support families going through bereavement, stress, family breakdown, suicide and depression. They also run a youth resilience programme called Travellers, operating in 150 schools in New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
Tips for coping after an earthquake
A short list of things to do that can make you and others feel better under exceptional circumstances, from Mental Health Foundation (2016)
World Went Wonky
A project developed after the Canterbury earthquakes of 2011. Includes a free eBook called 'When Super Billy's World Went Wonky'
When the quakes go on and on
Skylight (2012) strategies for self-care when the after-shocks keep coming and nothing is certain.
When trauma and grief come to work
A practical handbook from Skylight (2011) for organisations, employers and managers to support staff, clients and customers after the Canterbury earthquakes.
A campaign to help Cantabrians talk to their friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues about whether they’re really ok in the wake of the earthquakes. There's also a specific page for parents.
Earthquake stress information in different languages
Common responses to an earthquake, coping mechanisms and reactions from children, from Canterbury DHB (2011)
Wellbeing for parents
Supporting children through change in response to school change in Christchurch following the earthquakes, from Shaping Education (2013)
A Theology of mental Health
An article and talk by Rev. Will van der Hart, Pastoral Chaplain at Holy Trinity Brompton and a Director of Mind and Soul Foundation.
Seriously Awkward - Youth group resources
From the Children's Society UK including practical youth group sessions
Lifting the Lid
Six bible studies exploring God’s heart for mental health from the Mind and Soul Foundation