This short article is a brief follow-up to Disaster Relief: Helping Children During (and After) Community Traumatic Events. You can access the full article by clicking here.
Here are my five tips for supporting children impacted by natural disasters, such as the current bushfire crisis in Australia:
- As far as possible, maintain normal routines, including in relation to mealtimes, bedtime, and daily activities.
- Check in with your child or children regularly throughout the day, without them having to do anything to get your attention.
- Instead of asking children what they are thinking or how they are feeling, say what you think is the answer to the question. Say what you see. Similarly, if you can anticipate a need or reasonable request that a child in your care might express to you, address the need/request before the child asks or does anything else to satisfy the need/request. Be proactive!
- Allow yourself to show/express your own matched distress/concern/worry about the traumatic event to the child, through briefly and in a measured way. A connection will be made with the child and their emotions. Return to calm. The child should follow.
- Provide accurate/factual information, that is tailored to their age and maturity.
For more information, including explanations for each tip, access the full article here.
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