When a natural disaster occurs

In times of crisis it’s important we look after each other.

Children in particular can be affected and traumatised by events such as earthquakes.

Keep children feeling safe & secure

Here are some tips to help keep your children feeling safe and secure.

  • Give lots of hugs.
  • Try to be tolerant of ongoing behaviours - Some behaviours that children had outgrown may return until they feel safe and secure. This may take time.
  • Talk and listen – explain what is happening, and encourage children to express their feelings and fears.
  • Allow the ‘replaying’ of events – children may repeat stories over and over. This is natural.
  • Take children’s concerns seriously and respectfully. Their need to be heard will be strong at this time and may overpower their ability to listen.
  • Provide Guidance and Understanding – explain as best you can what is happening.
  • Try to keep routines where possible. Structure and routines help children to feel secure.
  • Explain that things will be okay in time but they could be different
  • Communicate that everybody is caring for everybody by involving children in caring for others and sharing.
  • Parents and caregivers may be tired, scared and anxious at this time also. Try to be patient with each other and with your children.

For more information on helping children deal with stress and trauma, download ‘Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma’ from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

An interesting link from Plunket
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