Helping Children Cope with Disaster

South Florida Red Cross

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…

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