Project HELP: PTSD—How to Use with Preschoolers

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As WMU focuses on Project HELP: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), all ages in the church are encouraged to be involved in this critical issue. You may be wondering, How can I focus on this critical issue with preschoolers?

Following are recommendations about using Project HELP: PTSD with preschoolers.

Hints for Preschool Teachers

  • As an introduction for yourself into this issue, read information provided in Drawing Near: Understanding and Supporting Those with PTSD.
  • Because of the preschooler’s level of understanding, do not use the term post-traumatic stress disorder with preschoolers.
  • Avoid giving descriptions to preschoolers of things that are too frightening or disturbing.
  • Preschoolers can understand that people are sad or afraid sometimes.
  • Talk with preschoolers about their fears. Read Sometimes I Am Afraid, and listen to what your preschoolers say about their own fears. Give comfort when needed. Use Bible thoughts from the book to assure preschoolers that God is with them.
  • For helps in responding to a preschooler who has experienced a natural disaster, refer to "When a Preschooler Experiences Trauma".

Involve Preschoolers

  • Provide opportunities for preschoolers to do Helping Others activities for groups of people who may be at risk of having PTSD, for example: veterans, first responders, or survivors of natural disasters.
  • Lead preschoolers to learn about community helpers such as law enforcement officers or firefighters. Focus on the ways these first responders help others stay safe.
  • Help preschoolers know how they can pray for these community helpers.
  • Your community may have a veterans hospital or a nursing home in which veterans reside. Plan for preschoolers to make items to give to veterans, such as lap blankets or cards.
  • For more missions project ideas for preschoolers, see Drawing Near: Understanding and Supporting Those with PTSD, pages 26-27.

Though preschoolers are rarely diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many preschoolers experience trauma in their young lives, or they have a family member with PTSD. Preschool leaders in the church can provide support to these preschoolers and their families. The articles and resources on this page will be of help as you further look at this critical issue. 

Additional Project HELP Articles

When a Preschooler Experiences Trauma
A plastic bin sat on the floor to use as a doll bed. The baby doll sat in the bin with a baby blanket next to it. A preschooler took the doll and wrapped it in the blanket. . .

Ministering to Military Families 
You may be near a military base with many military personnel, have one military family in your church, or have a family with a member in the National Guard or Reserves. As a preschool leader in the church, this is an opportunity for you to serve these families in a special way. . . .

Helping Preschoolers with Family Trauma
Little 3-year-old David took my hand as we looked out the window, watching and listening as an ambulance drove by the day-care center. . . .

Products related to Project HELP: PTSD

Sometimes I Am Afraid Always Remember to Pray



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