Resources to Help Children Understand Events in Haiti

Several resources are available to help children process the horrific events in Haiti.  The following are a few which may be useful.

Talking to Kids About World Natural Disasters, from NYU Child Study Center.  Dr. Anita Gurian, a child psychiatrist, addresses questions, like these:

Can we just ignore the news and hope the children don't see scary images?

Should I let my children watch television?

How can we help children deal with their worry and shock?

How can we help children feel safe?

Managing Your Distress about the Earthquake from Afar.  The American Psychological Association has several recommendations, including:

Take a news break.

Control what you can.

Engage in healthy behaviors.

Keep things in perspective.

Find a productive way to help if you can.

Strive for a positive outlook.

Talking to Children about Earthquakes and other Natural Disasters.   Dr. David Fassler, from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has the following suggestions:

Create an open and supportive environment.

Give children honest answers and information.

Use words and concepts children can understand.

Be prepared to repeat information and explanations.

Remember children tend to personalize situations.

Be reassuring but don't make unrealistic promises.

Help children find ways to express themselves.

Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events in Unsettling Times. The National Association of School Psychologists has the following Tips for Parents and Caregivers:

Be a good listener and observer.

Recognize anxiety about the risk of a natural disaster.

Monitor the news.

Emphasize people's resiliency.

Highlight people's compassion and humanity.

Spend family time.

Do something positive to help those in need.

What not to say or do.

Know the risk factors for severe emotional reactions.

Understand the grief process.

Be willing to discuss the concept of death.

Additional resources are available from the NASP's website.

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