Helping Children Cope with Disaster

Louisiana Floods 2016

March 11, 2016. Monroe, Louisiana. When Terina Smith, Michael Stevenson and their three small children were rescued from floodwaters in Monroe, Louisiana, they found safety at a Red Cross shelter. Volunteer Ethel Payne has helped provide comfort and lifted their spirits during their time at the shelter. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family – including children, accept the fact that disasters do happen, and that together, the family can minimize the emotional distress. When families are prepared, children cope better.

Children can feel very frightened during a disaster and afterwards some children will show temporary changes of behavior.

For most children these changes will be mild, not last long, and diminish with time. However, reminders of what happened could cause upsetting feelings to return and behavior changes to emerge again. Watching scenes of the disaster on television can be distressing for children, especially for younger children.

Younger children may return to bed-wetting, have difficulty sleeping, and not want to be separated from their caregivers. Older children may show more anger than usual, find concentrating at school harder, and want to spend more time alone than usual.

Some children are more vulnerable, and their reactions can be more severe and last for a longer period of time.

Please click HERE for suggestions on how to help children cope with the effects of disaster, as well as how to be prepared before a disaster strikes.

Shared by contributing blogger, and Disaster Mental Health Volunteer Lead Tom Nahrstedt

#BeRedCrossReady #HurricanePrep #SouthFlorida

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