Helping children affected by the drought is an important part of parents and caregivers’ roles. Some key ways to help children feel safe and in control is by listening to them and providing reassurance that many caring adults, parents, teachers, and community members are working together to keep them safe. Children may become upset or withdrawn, while others can’t stop talking about the experience. Use simple, age appropriate explanations about what happening during the disaster. For older children, ask them what they know and what questions they may have.
Parents and caregivers can help children by giving a moment of your time, a gentle hug, or a reassuring word to help children feel safer. Involve children in the family’s efforts to prepare for or recover from a disaster. Keep assigned tasks safe and age-appropriate. Let them know you appreciate their efforts to help the family. Learn more at https://learningchildblog.com/2015/05/08/helping-children-deal-with-severe-storms-what-do-parents-need-to-know/ and https://go.unl.edu/wildfire2
Keeping children informed by explaining what is happening. You can explain how a fire happens, and how these are unusual but natural patterns of weather. Children will feel safer if they have some answers. Use simple explanations about what is happening during the disaster. It is helpful to limit media coverage and graphic details. This helps children have some sense of control.
Maintaining routines or rituals of comfort. Dinnertime at the kitchen table or reading your child’s favorite book at bedtime may provide young children with a sense of security. Children are better able to cope with a crisis if they feel they understand it and there are people working to keep the family safe. Learn more at https://child.unl.edu/read4resilience and https://go.unl.edu/wildfire4
Acknowledging your child’s feelings and experiences. Let your child know it is okay to cry. Use simple, age appropriate explanations about what is happening during the disaster. Provide reassurance that many caring adults, parents, teachers, and community members are working together to keep them safe. For older children, ask them what they know and what questions they may have.
For further assistance or more information feel free to contact anyone on our Early Childhood Team