The Aftermath of an Earthquake… how to help kids cope
  • In the aftermath of a natural disaster, kids can have many questions, be afraid that something like that could happen to them, or be sad for the people involved. All are normal responses. Here are some ways to talk with your kids about a natural disaster (or war or violence).
    • If you child doesn’t bring up the subject, ask “Did you hear about X?” or “Do you know what is going on with Y?” Parents need to be sensitive to tailor conversations to their children. Some children are very sensitive or scared easily and may need to know less detailed information.
    • For Younger Children (under age 8): These children have trouble differentiating what is real and what is make-believe. Especially since they see so much of both on the television (and in video games and movies, etc.). Limit the amount of exposure younger children have to the images of violence, war, or natural disaster coverage. Your child may seem or be afraid. Reassure him or her that their fears are real and that he/she and your family are safe. It can also be helpful to explain your own feelings about natural disasters so your children know that even Mommies and Daddies can be scared, sad or angry. It is also important to keep your emotions under control and stay calm, even during times of intense emotions, so that children feel safe and secure.
    • For Older Children (grades 3-8):
      • Watch the news together: Try to find a program that isn’t overly involved (like the local news) and allow your child to talk about his/her thoughts and feelings as you watch the program together. If the visual nature of the television is too intense, switch to reading an article in the newspaper or on the Internet.
      • Find the answers and explore together: Your child may have questions that you don’t know the answer to. Work together to find the answer.
      • Keep an Open Ear and Mind: Be open to listening and answering your child’s concerns all the time. That way, when a crisis comes, you already have open communication with your child and your child may feel more comfortable talking with you about his/her feelings during a difficult time.
    • (adapted from: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1466)
  • Pray with your children. Invite them to share prayer requests they have for the people who are affected by the natural disaster. While it may not seem like you are doing much, prayer makes a big difference.
  • If you would like more information about how to help talk with your child about a natural disaster or to help them cope, contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger