4 Ways to Help Children Recover from a Natural Disaster

A natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood, can turn a family’s life upside down. For example, they might need to live in temporary accommodation until they can get back on their feet, which could disturb a child’s routine.

Plus, they might struggle with the emotional toll of a disaster, which could impact their wellbeing. There are steps that you can take to support kids during this difficult time. Read the four ways to help children recover from a natural disaster.

Involve Kids in the Clean-up Process

While you might believe it’s wise to distance a child from a disaster as much as possible, it could help to involve them in the clean-up process. According to one study on flooding, children who helped to clean a community after a natural disaster experienced less trauma. For instance, it could counteract any negative feelings they might associate with a flood and increase their community spirit.

Donate to the Red Cross

There are many ways that the general public can help both adults and children to recover from a natural disaster. To provide much-needed help following a flood, hurricane, or another natural disaster, the Red Cross is a great place to start. The humanitarian organization welcomes monetary donations and depends on volunteers to provide disaster relief and emergency assistance.

Look for Signs of Trauma

Children can suffer from trauma following a natural disaster, which can last from one month to many years. While many kids might display minor symptoms, some might struggle with serious psychological trauma. The more symptoms they have, the more likely they are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is important to note that their symptoms will be different from trauma in adults, and they will also be determined by their age.

For example, children who are six years of younger might have the following symptoms:

  • Helplessness
  • Passivity
  • Regression – such as thumb sucking, separation anxiety from parents, or crying

Older children may display different behaviors, such as:

  • A short attention span
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Poor academic performance
  • A cautious or fearful attitude
  • A loss of interest in friends, studying, and hobbies

If you suspect a child is living with trauma following a natural disaster, it is imperative to obtain help from a doctor or therapist to help them recover psychologically from the unfortunate event.

Encourage Kids to Talk

It’s common for children to believe both their family and school didn’t want to listen to their experiences or worries following a disaster. They also might not want to express their feelings to avoid placing a more significant burden on their family.

It is, however, important to talk to kids after a natural disaster, even if they appear fine. Providing them with a chance to speak and articulate their emotions could help them to recover from a traumatic event at a faster rate. It might also help to make time for fun, such as playing games, which could distract them from their negative thoughts.

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