I can remember a frightening dream that I had when my children were small. It was really more of a nightmare. I dreamed that a tornado hit where we lived, and I was unable to find my children after frantically searching through the aftermath of the storm. Those kinds of dreams give one pause. I have always been fearful for the safety of my children and all of my family in the event severe storms or any natural disaster should strike.
When children hear on the news about tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other kinds of natural disasters, they naturally become frightened. Children who have experienced such natural disasters themselves can become traumatized by the event and the destructive aftermath. Such events threaten their sense of security and normalcy.
Parents can better protect their children by knowing what to do and where to go if evacuation is necessary. Have a plan, and keep your children aware of what they need to do in the event of an emergency. Keep in touch with schools, teachers and emergency officials.
Parents can reassure children and help them cope if they have heard news reports of severe storms or any other natural disasters that took homes and lives, or if the children themselves have been traumatized by being in the path of such a natural disasters. Parents can remind children that they have an emergency plan in place that will help to better protect them. During a storm, or in the aftermath of one, remain calm.
Acknowledge and normalize their feelings and fears as being a normal reaction. Encourage them to talk about disaster-related events, and promote positive problem-solving and coping skills. Emphasize to the children their resiliency. That will help to bolster their confidence. It is also important to strengthen children’s friendships and family support network.
Picture credit: Laura Griffith