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Friday, March 26, 2010

Edition 13: Teach your children to face disaster

Teach Your Children to Face Disaster
The terrorism has come to stay with us. There are numerous reasons why it continues to haunt us. Whenever there is a tragedy, the first thing that crops ups in mind is concern about your kids.
Even though you can not ensure that your child does not find its way in any tragic incidence like that of a bomb blast or terror attack, there are ways you can enbale the children to face the situation.
Children, like many adults, may be confused or frightened by the news. They will look to adults around them for information and guidance on how to react.
Parents and school personnel can help children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and security. Parents and teachers alike can continue to help children work through their emotions and perhaps even use the process as a learning experience.
1. Keep calm and control over yourself. Do not appear anxious or frightened.
2. Reassure children that they are safe. Explain that attacks all schools, neighborhoods, and regular office buildings are not at risk.
3. Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge. Explain that the government emergency workers, police, fireman, doctors, and administration are helping people so that no further tragedies occur.
4. Let children know that it is okay to feel upset. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy like this occurs. Let children talk about their feelings and help put them into perspective. Even anger is okay, but children may need help and patience from adults to assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
5. Observe children's emotional state. Depending on their age, children may not express their concerns orally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child's level of grief, anxiety or discomfort. Children will express their emotions differently.
6.Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate. Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that the daily structures of their lives will not change. Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school.
The children will be more committed to doing something to help the victims and affected community. For all children, encourage them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Heed to what the children are saying. Be a good listener and all will be well!
What Parents Should DoWhenever something untowards, children look up to their parents for emotional help. Here are some ways you can ensure that they get the right dose of support:
n Focus on your children over the next day or so. Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
n Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.
n Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity monitor their reaction. Many children want actual physical contact.
n Limit the amount of your child's television viewing of these events. If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off.
n Maintain a "normal" routine. To the extent possible stick to your family's normal routine for dinner, homework, bedtime, etc., but don't be inflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.
n Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed. These activities are calming, foster sense of closeness and security. They reinforce sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in. Let them sleep with a light on if they want it.
n Safeguard your children's physical health. Stress can take a physical toll on children as also adults. Make sure your children get enough sleep, exercise and nutrition.
n Consider praying or thinking hopeful thoughts. It may be a good time to take your children to church or the temple, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express feelings and feel that they are supporting victims and their families.
n Tell children the truth. Don't try to pretend the event has not occurred or that it is not serious. Children are smart. They will be more worried if they think you are too afraid to tell them what is happening.
n Stick to the facts. Don't embellish or speculate about what has happened and what might happen. Don't dwell on the scale or scope of the tragedy.

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