Tips for Helping Children Cope with Disaster

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In the aftermath of Sandy, many professionals and individuals are looking to learn something, and how to help our most vulnerable citizens after something so frightening and tragic is something that should be pondered.

For a child, understanding why their entire world is upside down can be next to impossible, and this can result in confusion, fear, and even anger. As it’s often difficult for children to express themselves, simply because they don’t have the maturity to do so yet, this can lead to behaviors such as bed wetting, separation anxiety, and issues falling asleep or staying asleep. Here are some of the best ways to return some semblance of normalcy, and thus security, to children in your care in the aftermath of a disaster.

Stick with family: Whether you’re in a shelter or at home, keeping your immediate family together will give your child a sense of security that the disaster has stripped away from him or her.

Talk about it: Discussing the issue, including how it made you feel, how you feel now, and then listening to the same from your child, can help them to process information and to understand that how they feel is normal. Try not to say there’s nothing to be afraid of or worried about, because to a small child, there most certainly is.

Maintain routine: Even if you’re in a shelter, reading or telling a story before bed, keeping meal times as close to the same as possible, and anything else you can do to recreate your normal life in abnormal situation can be reassuring.

Learn more steps you can take to prepare for disasters.

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