Support for Children in a Time of Fear & Crisis

Support for Children in a Time of Fear & Crisis

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It's a part of our mission to create stories to support kids through difficult times. Stories can be a transformative force for kids — as they follow the characters in the stories through a challenge and then out the other side into healing, they too can experience healing and strengthening.

Here are some of our very best stories to support children with worry, fear, and trauma.

ABOUT THE STORIES


PRINCE

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This story is to support children through the experience of a sudden loss or crisis.

This is a story about a young girl named Lee, who loves her little black dog Prince. But one day, Prince is suddenly killed by a speeding car. The girl not only has to come to grips with the abrupt loss of her dog, but she also manages questions like “Who was it? Why didn’t they stop? How could they do it?”. And the ultimate message from her loving parents is this: We love you. It is OK to be sad. We are holding you. And we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.

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DENNY AND THE COULD BEE

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This story helps children who are struggling with worry.

“Denny and the Could Bee” and it is all about the insidious nature of imagining what ‘could’ happen. Rumors, exaggerations, fearful stories and even simple wonderings have ‘Could Bees’ buzzing around in them. Luckily Mr. James, Denny’s kindergarten teacher, has a way of shooing those Could Bees away and allowing the truth of the matter to become clear.

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HELPERS

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This story is for children who have experienced a natural disaster (inspired by Mr. Roger's great quote).

Dennis is a happy little six year old boy who wakes one morning to see his mother listening to the radio in the kitchen. She turns it off, but Dennis can tell that something is wrong and that his mother is feeling sad — and maybe a little scared. She explains that something happened, a big storm moved through a town, and buildings were damaged and people were hurt. When she sees that this is making him feel nervous, she scoops him up and tells him, “I know that when something like this happens — when there are very strong winds or other kinds of storms — people around the world will know about it. And do you know what they do when they find out? They will help.”

She then tells him how all the people on their street, in their neighborhood, and in their town want to make sure that he, Dennis, is safe.

“But you know what, Dennis?” his Mother asked, raising her eyebrows, “It is time for us to be the helpers. There are people that are feeling scared right now because a storm came to their house. Our house is fine and so are we. Are you ready to be a helper?”

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SOMEONE ELSE'S DRAGON

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This story supports children who have glimpsed something that has frightened them.

The people of Solvei’s village have a yearly festival that marks the end of the growing season and the beginning of the dark time. In this joyful celebration, the villagers dress as dragons that represent the things they fear. Solvei is too young to attend, but is so excited that she sneaks a peek on the night of the festival — and comes home with many different fears from the “dragons” that she saw there. Her mother explains that she has taken on ‘someone else’s dragon’ and then helps Solvei give the fears back so she can fall peacefully asleep.

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UNSHAKING SHAKIRA

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This is a story for children who have experienced a trauma, and helps them to physically process the experience.

On her first slow walk out to the end of a red mangrove branch, Shakira, the pygmy sloth experienced something sudden: the branch broke off. She and the branch fell down to the ground, and though she was fine — no breaks or bruises — she was still rather shaken up. Luckily her mother had fallen many times and knew what to do — she would 'unshake' her — or help her body let go of the accident.

Note: This story can be useful for when your child (or anyone really) needs support after an accident. In fact, the story was written for some dear friends who had just gotten into a car accident, and though they escaped with only bruises, both children were pretty rattled. The story gives a body-based exercise that anyone can use.

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THE DRAGON AND THE UNICORN

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This story helps children manage big emotions.

There was once a land far to the north that was held in healthy balance by a dragon and a unicorn. When the people of that land tried to control the dragon, the unicorn returned to the clouds and the people suddenly experienced what it was like to manage pure power — the power of a dragon’s emotions.

This is a story about the big emotions that all children feel. It gives guidance on how to be both the dragon (emotional) and the unicorn (presence through the emotions) at the same time.

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Stories to Help Us Vision New Possibilities

TADODAHO AND THE GREAT WHITE PINE: A STORY ABOUT TRUE LEADERSHIP

from the Helping and Healing Handy Toolbelt of Stories

This is the story of how the Iroquois Nation came to be and how peace, compassion, and unity is stronger than fear, violence, and war. Tadodaho is the fierce monster leading the Onondaga Nation — he lives in a swamp and has snakes in his hair. When the Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha come to him with a message of peace and unity, what happens next not only transforms a tyrant into a true leader, but also creates a new nation.

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WHATEVER POWER I HAVE

from the Dry Gables: Hands Together collection

This story is about channeling feelings of anger and revenge into service.

When Johann's dear friend, Iron Eyes, and a number of other Lakota people perish in a battle with the United States Army, Johann is, of course, furious and ready to take revenge. Luckily, Liesl Herz, the town's nurse and primary healer, sympathizes with him and then suggests that before he confronts the army, consider helping those in need — those left behind. This is a transformative moment for Johann, who is used to action — not reflection — and is more comfortable with his will, rather than his feelings. But it is exactly what he needs to do in that moment and Johann channels all his feelings and desire to fight into authentic service to those in need.

Parent Note: This story references the tragic events of what has come to be known as the "Wounded Knee Massacre". Though the story does not use this particular language, the event is key in the transformation of the main character, Johann. We feel that children who have studied American History and are 8 years or older would have encountered events like this in their studies, but parents should be warned that the death of a particular Lakota friend is an important part of the narrative.

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