Five Things Kids Need After Hurricane HarveySep 05, 2017
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we will have kids in our care who need extra support. Here are five things that kids need after a crisis.
Related: After Harvey: Caring for our Kids
After a Crisis, Kids Need…
- Routine. As much as possible, maintain daily schedules of meals, naps, and bedtime. Routines are comforting to children and help them feel like things are “on track”. Experts tell us that this is the first thing children need in a crisis.
- To be heard. Children will need to tell and re-tell their hurricane stories. Help by giving them words to name strong feelings during BRIEF conversations. Children can’t handle this topic of conversation for long. Short and frequent conversations will help them work through their feelings and alleviate stress.
- Lots of patience. Expect and understand that uncharacteristic or difficult behavior is a response to the stress these children have through. Maintain basic rules and enforce them with gentle, loving guidance.
- Understanding, as they work through fears. It’s going to take time to work through this. Expect a fear of rain and thunder, nightmares, a fear of the dark discomfort of being separated from parents, and fear of being alone. Protect children from re-exposure to news coverage and grown-up talk about the events.
- Play! Because kids are who they are, they learn best through play – pretending, art experiences, building and creating things, interacting with each other through games as well as music and movement. These activities provide opportunities for children to reenact their experiences, which in turn helps alleviate stress. And of course, running, climbing and another big play is nothing but good for kids of all ages.
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