Helping Kids During Crisis
Thank you to Linde Thompson, Hyer Elementary counselor for providing us with a majority of these resources.
- Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
- Limit exposure to television and the news.
- Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
- Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
- Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
- Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
- Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.
- Provide your kids with ongoing opportunities to talk about what they went through or what they’re seeing on TV. Encourage them to ask questions and express their concerns. Make it clear that there are no bad feelings.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t be afraid to admit it. Don’t jeopardize your child’s trust in you by making something up.
- The traumatic event or disaster may trigger or bring up unrelated fears and issues in your kids. Acknowledge and validate these concerns, even if they don’t seem relevant to you.
- Monitor television watching. Limit your child’s exposure to graphic images and videos. As much as you can, watch news reports of the disaster with your children. This will give you a good opportunity to talk and answer questions.
- Remember that children often personalize situations. They may worry about their own safety or that of their family, even if the traumatic event occurred far away. Reassure your child and help him or her place the situation in context.
- Watch for physical signs of stress. The symptoms of traumatic stress may appear as physical complaints such as headaches, stomach pains, or sleep disturbances.