Events such as natural disasters can have drastic psychological affects on children and strip them of their most formidable years. As we head into hurricane season, we’re highlighting the effects of natural disasters on children- and how you can help prepare your family. A study by Dr. Andres G Viana explains that while not all children will exhibit unusual behavior during the aftermath of a natural disaster, it is completely normal for children to experience heightened emotions such as fear of separation, temper tantrums and difficulty with concentration. In fact, children who have previously experienced a natural disaster are at a higher risk of developing irregular behaviors in response to the event.
While parents have a challenging time juggling between taking care of their child and managing any destruction that may have occurred from the disaster, there are steps they may taking in order to better prepare their child for such an event. Here are a few steps as stated in the study:
- Create a regular time and place for your child to talk with you about his/her feelings or worries
- Children may also blame themselves for what happened. Let them know they are in no way responsible for what happened
- Reassure children that they are safe. Discuss steps that you and your community are taking to ensure safety.
For more information on how you can discuss natural disasters with your children and how to prepare them, please visit: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Getting-Your-Family-Prepared-for-a-Disaster.aspx