During times of disaster, upheaval, and crisis, our first thoughts are of our children’s safety. But just as imporant as their physical safety is their emotional well-being. When life’s storms come, here are a few ways to make sure we keep our little ones secure in heart as well as in body.
Turn off the TV
Little hearts can only handle so much information, especially bad news. They don’t have the tools to process the graphic stories and images on the news as it’s broadcasted over and over and over. Children should have enough information to help them feel secure, but they don’t need to see everything that’s going on during a disaster.
Watch Your Words
Be careful about what you say around them. Don’t overload them with information. Find a discreet place for adults to discuss what is going on.
Let them know that they are safe and cared for. Assure them that everything will be OK and things will be more normal soon. Even in the worst circumstances such as loss of a home, children need to hear that things won’t be this way forever.
Keep a Routine
Try to keep regular bed times and nap times as much as possible. Eat on your usual schedule if you can. Give your children some sense of normalcy, even when things around them are in chaos.
In times of crisis it’s so easy to reach for them most convenient items, but junk food can make kids feel cranky and yucky. That’s the last thing they need during times of stress. As much as you’re able, feed them wholesome, balanced meals.
Provide Comforting Objects and Activities
A soft blanket and a teddy bear go a long way in helping a child feel secure. Go for a walk, put on fun or restful music, and play board games. And don’t forget to cuddle them, hold them, and hug and kiss them.
Did you know that you can purchase emergency disaster kits through Amazon? Then you can add your own stuffed animal, game, and blanket.
Encourage Their Spirits
If you’re religious, pray with your children, sing encouraging songs with them, and tell them stories of faith. Faith is a powerful comfort when everything around us is falling apart (sometimes literally!).
Let Them Help
Doing nothing during a disaster can make little ones feel even more helpless than normal. Put them to work! Maybe it’s cleaning up small debris after a hurricane, serving at a disaster soup line, or making care packages for those who have experienced loss. Helping your kids feel useful lets them know they are need.
Disasters are never easy, but for many of us, they are inevitable. How we help our kids through them makes the difference between raising a child who’s afraid and one who’s empowered. So help your kids become survivors whose hearts are strong even in the face of adversity!