Giving Comfort

When you are upset or worried, what is one thing that is of comfort to you? I start my conference on Helping Preschoolers Deal with Fears by asking participants this question. I give each person a fabric square, and ask them to draw on the fabric the thing that is of comfort. We then put all the fabric squares together to make a sort of “comfort” quilt. When they start drawing, someone usually jokingly comments about their lack of artistic talent. I assure them we are not looking at artistic talent but at the ways that we are each comforted.

I have been amazed at the many things people have drawn on their fabric squares. Last week when I led the conference, one person drew her cat. I could imagine how it would be comforting to pet her furry cat while it sits in her lap. Another person drew the outdoors, and said it is comforting to walk outdoors. A person drew friends to remind us how friends can comfort us. Others in my conferences have drawn a cup of tea, the Bible, praying hands, and a big pillow.

All of these are things that are of comfort to us as adults. What is of comfort to preschoolers when they are upset or afraid? Some things that are of comfort to us may be similar to the things that are of comfort to preschoolers. Missionary Andrew Mann has a therapy dog, Proof, which intuitively knows when a child needs calming at Graffiti 2 Community Ministries in New York City. You might have a toddler who is comforted by stepping outside and looking at flowers or taking a short walk. Many times preschoolers are comforted by knowing that a caring adult is near. They are comforted by rocking with you or holding your hand. Some preschoolers are comforted by holding something soft like a pillow, blanket, or baby doll.

Two of the best tools that we have for giving comfort to preschoolers are the Bible and prayer. As Robin McCall and I wrote Sometimes I Am Afraid, we felt it important to include Bible thoughts to help preschoolers when they are fearful. Using these Bible thoughts with preschoolers can help them know that God hears us when we pray and He is always with us. We can comfort preschoolers by saying Bible thoughts such as God cares for you (see 1 Peter 5:7).

Prayer can also be comforting to preschoolers who are upset or have gone through trauma. Place the preschooler and the family in your personal daily prayers. Along with praying for the preschooler, take opportunities to pray with the preschooler. Say short prayers with the preschooler such as, “Thank You, God, that You care for Miller,” or “Help Miller know that You are with him.” It is comforting to know that someone is praying for you, and I think this is true for preschoolers, also.

When you have a preschooler who is upset or afraid, think of the ways that you can bring comfort to the child. You probably do not have a therapy dog in your Mission Friends classroom, but you can think of other ways in which a preschooler is comforted. Show an extra measure of care as you bring comfort to your preschoolers at times when they are afraid.

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