Natural disasters can be very traumatic for children and adults, alike. Often they happen suddenly, with little time to react, and can leave behind a great deal of destruction to land, homes, and people’s lives.
Following disasters such as the recent floods in Queensland and Victoria, parents are often left wondering how best to address these traumatic natural disasters events with their children.
The type and amount of information you provide your child after a natural disasters is dependent on their age. However, simple explanations that reassure children that they are safe and let them know that you are there caring for them will help.
Tips for Parents
Try to keep routines. If they have been disrupted, help re- establish routines as soon as possible, as these are essential for children to grow and develop typically.
Limit exposure to the media, and adult conversation about the natural disaster. Children are very much influenced by the responses and feelings of parents and other adults. Seek support for yourself of friends and colleagues
Answer any questions that your child may have about natural disasters. Be honest without giving a lot of detail.
Talk about the events related to the natural disasters if your child brings it up, don’t try to change the subject. It’s important to correct any ‘false’ ideas young children may have.
Give children a chance to discuss their experiences of the natural disaster, and to share their fears. This will assist them in their ability to move on.
Be available and reassuring.
Help children gain a sense of self control by allowing them to make choices, that are age appropriate.
It can take weeks, months, sometimes years, for children to fully recover from the stress they may have experienced during a natural disaster. Each child is different. The more consistent children’s daily routines are and remain after a disaster, the better they will be able to adjust and move forward.
Recognising stress in children after a Natural Disasters
going backwards in their development, e.g. wetting the bed, clinging and behaviour problems.
School aged children
not wanting to go to school,
physical symptoms, e.g. headaches or tummy aches.
React aggressive under stress.
If you notice that your child’s reaction to stress or trauma due to a natural disaster is not lessening over time, or is becoming worse, it may be beneficial to seek some professional advice. For more information on how the Quirky Kid Clinic can help, or to schedule an appointment please contact us.
Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, the Raising Children Network website and the following article.
Foulks, D. (2005). Nurturing Children After Natural Disasters. A Booklet for Child Care Providers, National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Arlington, Virginia, 1-16.
Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed attachment and comforting issues within toddlers with reporter Fran Molloy from Practical Parenting. You can find more information on how to help your child outgrow their security items by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.
You can read the full article at ‘practical parenting website.’
If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date. Visit our website for more information about us.
Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed children and climate change with reporter vanessa Watson from The Wentworth Courier. You can find more information on climate change and children as well as general anxiety by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.
You can read the full article at The Wentworth Courier.
If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.
We have just announced new dates for our popular children’s workshops throughout the January school holidays.
The ‘Best of Friends’ workshop™ is focused on developing social skills, and will help to prepare children for playground politics in the new school year ahead. This workshop will be running on Tuesday, 12th January and Monday, 18th January for all ages.
Our ‘Why Worry’ workshop helps children manage feelings of stress and worry, and will benefit children who are anxious about making a transition in the new school year, such as changing teachers, classrooms or even changing schools. This workshop will be running on Wednesday, 13th January and Friday, 22nd January, for all ages.
We will also be running a study skills programto ensure students are well equipped with effective study techniques when entering a new grade. This workshop will be running as a 2 hour session on Wednesday, 20th January for cchildren aged 8+.
Children with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience high levels of anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities, and find it difficult to control these worries. They may worry about as punctuality, school performance or catastrophic events such as earthquakes. The intensity, duration or frequency of the child’s worries is far out of proportion to the actual likelihood of what they fear. In addition to their worries, these children often experience restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and disturbed sleep. Children with GAD typically seek approval excessively and require constant reassurance about their performance and their other worries.
What should I look for?
Does your child have excessive anxiety or worry about a number of events or activities?
Does your child find it difficult to control their worries?
Does your child appear restless or ‘on edge’?
Is your child easily fatigued?
Does your child have difficulty concentrating?
Does your child appear irritable?
Does your child appear tense?
Does your child have difficulty falling or staying asleep?
Does your child have restless and unsatisfying sleep?
The Quirky Kid Shoppe has select useful resources for parenting and children experiencing Separation Anxiety and others forms of Anxiety.
How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?
The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. If you suspect your child may be experiencing symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder you might consider one of the following options: