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Hurricane Harvey & Helping Your Child Cope With Natural Disasters

Posted on 09-06-2017

This 'Sesame Street' episode can help you talk to your kids about Harvey

Hurricane Harvey & Helping Your Child Cope With Natural Disasters

On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast, bringing powerful winds and heavy rainfall with it. After days of non-stop rain, Houston and many other regions were left in shambles, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to walk away from what was once their home. While this devastation undoubtedly affects many people’s jobs, daily routines, and mental health, it is important to remember that children are affected as well.

It can be difficult for young children to grasp natural disasters and why and how they occur. Children cope with events such as this differently depending on their age, but they are all susceptible to its negative impact. Whether your child was directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey or not, these tips for coping with natural disasters are sure to help your family move forward no matter what you face in the future.

Talk About It

One of the best ways to help your child process what has happened is by discussing the events that have occurred. Explain the disaster in logical terms so your child can fully understand why or how things have changed. Most importantly, allow your child to express his or her emotions about what has taken place, and listen to their worries or fears. By creating a safe space for your child to share their feelings, they will be less likely to bottle up or hold onto any negative emotions. A wonderful resource on how to discuss natural disasters with children can be found in this Sesame Street episode, where Big Bird’s friends help him rebuild his nest after a storm.

Maintain A Routine

Your child can hold onto a sense of normalcy by maintaining their typical routine in whatever way possible. Try to stick with their normal bed/wake up time in order to ensure they’re getting enough sleep. Allow them time to learn and play, and stick with any rules you would enforce on a daily basis. Many parents feel the need to coddle children in the midst of a disaster, but sticking to a routine can provide a sense of safety and security.

Be Patient

Remember – each child processes natural disasters differently. While one child may appear totally unaffected, another could display symptoms of anxiety or even depression. Be patient as your little one copes with how their life has changed, and know that it could take weeks, months, or even years for them to fully recover. Love, comfort, and patience go a long way when helping your child move past a difficult time.

Would you like to help Kids ‘R’ Kids employees who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey? Simply visit our  GoFundMe link and make a donation. It is our hope to raise $100,000 or more for all staff members and teachers whose homes, families, and livelihood have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

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