How to Help Your Child After a Disaster
What to Expect
Children depend on familiar routines: wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends. When an emergency interrupts this routine, they may become anxious, confused, or frightened. These feelings may be expressed in a variety of ways: from clinginess to withdrawal; increased shyness to aggressiveness. Your child may return to previously outgrown behaviors such as thumb-sucking or carrying a cuddly toy.
What to Do
When the danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking what’s on his or her mind. Having children participate in your family’s recovery activities will help them feel that life will soon return to “normal.”
During their recovery, prevent young children from viewing television news reports of the event. The images can be very upsetting, particularly if the child is too young to realize they are watching repeated footage and not a new emergency.
Click here to learn more about how to build resilience in children through coping skills.