Helping Kids Process after a Natural Disaster

Sep 05, 2017

In order to care for our kids effectively, it helps to know something about the way children develop. What child development experts tell us about young children can help us understand how they will process the event of Hurricane Harvey.  

Five Things Kids Need After Hurricane Harvey

As you work to help your children process the recent natural disaster, consider the following facts about young children.

  • A child's basic needs must be met for food, shelter, clothing, belonging and security.
  • Children’s thinking changes as they mature, so their understanding of loss will vary.
  • Preschoolers are more likely to think about the concrete events rather than their feelings about what happened.
  • Preschoolers can focus on one thing at a time. Also, their view of the world is egocentric, so they will connect what they witness to themselves and what’s important to them.
  • Preschoolers may generalize information. For example, if they know the rains from the hurricane ruined their house and their toys, they may think it will happen the next time it rains.
  • Preschoolers are not always able to distinguish what is real from what is pretend.
  • Little ones may have false ideas about why things happen. For example, “The hurricane happened because I was bad.”
  • Young children often re-enact their experiences through play.
  • The negative effects of hardship can be worked through and children can develop skills and strength to deal with adversity. They become resilient when they have a safe, secure environment, access to being cared for, supportive adults and opportunities to develop self-control.

This last statement is where YOU come into the picture! Early childhood professionals are the best at doing this. Thank you for all you do to keep children safe and well-cared for in the midst of the crazy happenings in this world.

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