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Helping Children Cope with Disasters

During a disaster, your family may have to leave your home and daily routine. As an adult, you’ll need to cope with the disaster in a way that will help children avoid developing a permanent sense of loss. How you react to an emergency gives them clues on how to act. If you seem overcome with a sense of loss, a child may feel losses more strongly.

Children’s fears may also stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid IS afraid. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable.

When you’re sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s uppermost in his or her mind. Having children participate in the family’s recovery activities will help them feel that their life will return to “normal.”

  • Children are most afraid—
    • The event will happen again.
    • Someone will be injured or killed.
    • They will be separated from family.
    • They will be left alone.


  • Teach your children how to call for help.
  • Help your child memorize important family information such as family name, address and phone number.

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