There is an excellent article on FoxNews.com today about how to keep children feeling emotionally safe when weather tragedies befall their community. Experiencing severe flooding, earthquakes and tornadoes that damages homes, and maim friends, family and loved ones can cause trauma for kids that can undermine their sense of security and normalcy, according to the National Association of School Psychologists’ website.
Here are a brief list of steps that parents can take to help restore confidence for their children in the wake of a natural disaster, according to the NASP: Take time to read the newsletter from NASP as well for more tips.
1) Remain calm and reassuring. It is important to acknowledge your children’s feelings and the level of destruction but you can also focus on how the community is working to rebuild.
2) Acknowledge and normalize kids’ feelings. Let them know you are there to listen and that their reactions are normal.
3) Promote positive coping skills and mechanisms.
4) Emphasize your children’s resiliency. Remind your child how they have overcome something scary or frightening in the past. Use examples of how other communities have suffered in the past and what they have done to overcome it.
5) Strengthen children’s friendships and peer support. Kids with strong emotional support do better in disasters than children who are more isolated. Encourage relationships and have your children do activities in small groups cooperatively with other peers to promote bonding.
6) Take care of yourself. You will be of no help to your children if you are completely stressed out. Speak to friends and loved ones about your experiences. Seek professional help, if needed. Take time to do things you enjoy when possible. Avoid drugs or alcohol to make you feel better.