Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Disaster Strikes

The earthquake that struck Haiti this week was a very catastrophic occurrence.  When disaster strikes it can be traumatic for both parents and children. Children are very aware and look to their parents for guidance and reassurance.  Younger children may feel anxious and unsafe. Parents play a major role in helping their children cope with these tragedies and can mitigate the emotional impact they may be experiencing.

Children know when parents feel anxious. Explain how you feel and reassure your children that they are safe and that many governments and organizations like UNICEF and the United Nations work hard to ensure that children are safe. Technology brings disasters quicker to us and our children tend to be aware of news events. Don’t ignore the occurrence, instead, ask your children how they feel and discuss the event. Try to minimize excessive media coverage. Having the episode replay constantly is not healthy for anyone’s mental psyche and can bring on unwanted anxiety.

It can also be helpful to teach your little ones that they can help the children and parents in the disaster by praying for them. In the case of Haiti, you can involve your kids by having them pack clothes to deliver to a collection site. Look up organizations that are taking donations and have younger and older kids be involved in the process. This way they don’t feel helpless and are making a difference in the lives of those affected. Not only will your children feel better, but they would learn the importance of giving which is a very vital lesson. Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Make a donation to help relief efforts in Haiti

Donate $5 by texting YELE to 501501 or at

Text the word HAITI to the number 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross or

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