Helping kids cope when emergencies happen
Be strong and supportive
Emergencies can be very stressful. Children in particular can feel the stress deeply -- and may react in a number of different ways. As a parent, the key to helping your children cope is simply by being there and making them feel safe and secure.
How to help kids cope during or after an emergency:
- Take their fears seriously and tell them that it's okay to be scared. Reassure them that they're safe and that you'll continue to help them when they feel afraid.
- Ask your children about their fears, feelings and thoughts on what has happened.
- Explain the events as best you can and acknowledge what's frightening about what happened.
- Tell your kids what you think and feel. Doing so helps them feel less alone if they know that their feelings are similar to yours.
- Maintain familiar routines, like mealtimes and regular bedtime hours. These are comforting and help reinforce a child's sense of security.
While parents can play a huge role in helping children deal with feelings of anxiety, sometimes it may be helpful to talk to a professional such as a psychologist, social worker, physician, nurse or psychiatrist who can help children understand and cope with their emotions.
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