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Tips for Talking with Young Children About Natural Disasters [Anxiety]

October 06, 2018 by Kinetic Kids, Inc.

Tips for Talking with Young Children About Natural Disasters #HurricaneFlorence #KineticKidsInc #PediatricTherapy #Psychology #TherapyDog #AnimalAssistedTherapy 

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Rules of Engagement: Effective Communication With Your Child

Here are some tips for parents as they approach all communications in a way that protects or enhances your child's self-esteem, narrowing the focus of their communications to generate solutions:

Be proactive.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

Be honest.

  • Honesty is key when answering questions. Some parents may want to keep some information from their children to protect them. They might say, for example: “No one died from the tornado” or “A storm like that would never happen here. This risks your child hearing about these details elsewhere. This could confuse your children and lead them to conclude that they cannot trust what you say.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, do not hesitate to tell your child. You can even look for answers together, which can also help your child feel safe and comforted.

Explore your child’s feelings and provide validation and comfort.

  • Children may feel a variety of emotions after a natural disaster, such as fear, confusion, anxiety, guilt, and sadness. Some children may not openly talk about their feelings during this time, but that does not necessarily mean they are not thinking about it. When your child does share her feelings with you, provide empathy, acknowledgment, and validation.
  • In an effort to comfort their child, some parents may inadvertently minimize their child’s feelings by saying things like “You have nothing to be scared of.” A better alternative is to empathize with her feelings first and then offer reassurance. One example is: “I can understand why you would be scared that we might have a big earthquake. I want you to know that there is only a very small chance that an earthquake would happen here. And if something happens, we have a plan to keep us safe.”

Want some interesting calming supports?  FidgetBalls-PediatricOccupationalTherapy.jpg

We have the answers for you!!  

Try making fidget balls!!  

Fidget balls generally help to:

  • keep one’s hands busy, and 
  • allows children to better focus while completing an activity.

Learn How to Make Amazing Fidget Balls

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Topics: Psychology

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