When you watch the horrible pictures of families fleeing their homes in other countries, it can be incredibly shocking and upsetting. It also makes us all feel lucky that we live in this country, not one that is being torn apart by war, fighting and terrible disasters.
But it got me thinking because we are all so lucky, how would we deal with the aftermath of a catastrophe at home? These type of events – flooding, earthquakes, fires – are a lot more common than you might think, and I sometimes get the feeling that many of us are ill-prepared fro the enormous impact they can have on our children.
With this in mind, I thought I would go through a few things that are worth thinking about which should help you deal with the aftermath of a household disaster. Let’s take a closer look.
Grounding your kids
We all want to protect our little ones from all of the awfulness in the world right now. But at the same time, I don’t think we can afford to wrap them in cotton wool. I’ve written before on the subject of how parents can talk to their children about world tragedies, and one of the most important things you can do is show them the sheer amount of people that try to help. Doing this should be a good grounding for them, and might even prompt them to take surprisingly mature actions in the event of an emergency.
Get them involved with the fixes and repairs
Our children see the home they live in as a safe space, and when it is taken away, it can have a dramatic impact on their feelings of security. It’s essential that you involve them in any repairs- changing the locks after a burglary, for example, Or, if there is a fire, calling the fire damage cleanup service after the event. Children will feel like everything is out of their – and your – control after a catastrophe, and the impact can be significant. If they feel involved with the clean-up, they will start to feel like they are regaining some of the power they have lost, and, most importantly, put things right.
Communication and therapy can help
In the event of a scary and terrible disaster, your child may end up holding onto many dark and dangerous thoughts. Keep communicating with your child and ensure that they know it is OK to discuss their feelings. Be open yourself, too – they will often take your lead and act in a similar manner. If things are getting difficult, or you suspect your child is having problems coping – nightmares and behavioral changes are a good signal – it might be worth getting in touch with a child therapist. PTSD can be common for kids who have experienced in disaster, and they can relive the event over and over again. Work that the therapist does with your child could lead to them resolving some of their fears, and being able to live a happier life afterwards.
Please ensure you see a medical professional if your child has been affected by a household disaster. While articles like these offer good general advice, every case will be different and require a different pathway to resolve them.