Sept. 2, 2005
Children affected by Hurricane Katrina will have many long-term stressors to deal with, including relocating after losing their homes, changing schools and parents losing their jobs.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers tips for parents and caregivers to help kids cope with the emotional toll of hurricanes and other natural disasters:
Shield children from viewing serious injuries and damage as much as possible, including media coverage.
Try to remain calm and monitor adult conversations to minimize children's distress.
Tell children about what adults are doing to help the community recover from the storm.
Let children help in the response, in age-appropriate ways, to boost their sense of control.
Be sympathetic to children's sense of loss over pets and special toys.
Repeatedly reassure children that they are safe.
Spend more time with children at bedtime, when they may be more anxious about separation and the unknown.
Maintain daily routines and expectations for children as much as possible.
Be patient with children when they return to school. They may be distracted and have difficulty concentrating.
You can find out more about the National Child Traumatic Stress Network by Clicking Here.
The American Psychological Association also has tips on its Web site for coping with natural disasters. Click Here for more information.