Children sense the anxiety and tension in adults around them. And, like adults, children experience the same feelings of helplessness and lack of control that tragedy-related stress can bring about. Unlike adults, however, children have little experience to help them place their current situation into perspective.
Each child responds differently to tragedy, depending on his or her understanding and maturity, but it’s easy to see how an event like this can create a great deal of anxiety in children of all ages because they will interpret the tragedy as a personal danger to themselves and those they care about.
Whatever the child’s age or relationship to the damage caused by tragedy, it’s important that you be open about the consequences for your family, and that you encourage him or her to talk about it.
Quick Tips for Parents
- Children need comforting and frequent reassurance that they’re safe make sure they get it.
- Be honest and open about the tragedy or disaster.
- Encourage children to express their feelings through talking, drawing or playing.
- Try to maintain your daily routines as much as possible.
Pre-school Age Children