From hurricanes and tornadoes to earthquakes, landslides, and even extreme snowstorms and floods, families around the world have to face the trauma of natural disasters.
We all need support after a major disaster or loss, but it can be much more difficult when you are a child who has not experienced a major disaster before and can not express your fears or concerns. Instead, these sleep disorders manifest concerns, nightmares, to be hyper-alert to danger signs, or display behavior often expected of a younger child (like an older child throwing crises anger), in addition to anxiety, irritability, and usually displayed by adults sadness.
For parents who are going through a natural disaster with their children, the experience can be an additional source of concern. The desire to protect your children is strong, and there is a natural desire to protect against the emotional consequences as well as the physical effects.
As often deadly incident made headlines, older people living in and outside the disaster zone faced questions about them from their children.
So if you are a parent through a disaster with your children for the first time, what you should do? Here are parenting tips when considering natural disasters with children at different stages of development.
Create a plan
Believe it or not, help your children through natural disasters begins long before a natural disaster. Create an emergency plan in advance and discuss them as a family. When or if a disaster comes, hopefully, you and your children can act faster, quieter, and efficiently.
Parents must first calm down in the case of natural disasters – maybe talk to a partner or friend – before trying to reassure their children. This will set a better tone for the conversation and allow them to focus on providing security in a time of chaos.
Prepare to answer questions and explain what happened.
It is not always easy for young children to express their feelings or understand the unpredictable and chaotic nature of natural disasters. Prepare to answer questions about what happened several times and provide opportunities for discussion.
Find out what your children already think they know before starting to respond and take the opportunity to correct any misinformation or misunderstandings. Sometimes memories of the disaster, or chat game that follows, can create a lot more frightening than the real image.
When you are answering questions, be honest and stick to the facts. Use language that is appropriate to the age and development of your children, and do not provide more details than they ask.
Let your children express their feelings and thoughts.
For children, it is normal for them to feel some distress or shock after a natural disaster, but these feelings usually resolve over time. You want to give your children the space to express any distress they feel, and it is important that you do not pretend that nothing has happened or stop any conversation your child tries to have on the event.
You need to find a balance here – talking too much about the event can be as problematic as too little talk. Try to avoid frequently take the emotional temperature of your child and ask if they agree on several occasions, but let them know that it is normal to discuss their feelings and take time to normalize their response without rejecting or minimize them.
Just Be Honest to your Children.
While it is important to stay calm and keep your conversation with age, older people can be honest about their uncertainty, even while assuring their children.
“As much as you can be open to responding to any questions you may not know the answer. “It’s okay to say you do not know. If you can find the answers, let’s say, ‘I’m going to try to figure out,’ and if not, could say, ‘Hmm, let’s see, I really do not know, but here’s the plan.’ “
Kids may want to know whether a toy room or they would be OK, and parents should not offer false promises but stressed that they will fix it or replace it if something bad happens.
Give them control.
As helpless as you feel in a situation that is potentially devastating, remember that children tend to feel even better. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, adults need to try to give children power over at least a daily choice so that they have some control over their lives. It can be as little as what games to play or sing a song to the next. Any amount of control you can give them only adds to the feeling of security.