Helping children cope with disaster
Raising a child is never easy, but add in a disaster or emergency, and things go from difficult to nearly impossible.
The Centers for Disease Control say when disasters happen, it's important to remember the health and well-being of yourself and your child. They say preparation is key.
It's difficult to predict how your child will react under high stress, emergency situations. Some children may be more outspoken about their grief, while others may not seem upset. Reactions may take time to surface, as well.
The CDC says it's important to present a realistic picture of the situation that is both honest as well as manageable at their age.
The most common fears children face after an emergency are that they will be seperated from family or left alone, that the event will happen again, and that someone will be hurt or killed, the CDC says.
Regardless of your child's age, remember to be a good role model for coping. React calmly, even though you may be stressed. If you feel unable to control your emotions, seek out help from family members or professionals, the CDC says.
Here are some other tips from the CDC:
-Keep routines as consistent as possible.
-Answer questions openly and honestly and at a level they can understand.
-Allow your children to talk about the event from their point of view. Let them know you will listen to their concerns and questions. Help them label and cope with their feelings. Let them know it is okay if they feel angry or sad.
-Reassure your children that you love and will care for them.
-Provide a peaceful household (and school experience).
For a full list of tips tailored to your child's age, and a list of potential reactions to disaster, click here.