A Child’s Response to Flooding

There are many factors that affect how a child responds to a natural disaster, such as whether they have experienced significant past trauma, loss of family or friend as a result of the natural disaster, loss of a pet, loss of their home, relocation, how their parents are responding to the natural disasters, change in schools, separation from friends, loss of personal items, change in sleep schedule, significant financial issues for family, change in routine, no longer able to participate in regular activities, etc..

Youth are not usually as adept as adults at communicating their feelings verbally. Children tend to act their feelings out. Parents, grandparents, caretakers, and educators should pay special attention to a child’s verbal and non-verbal communication post-storm. It is easy for adults to become irritated with changes in behavior, yet the way a child acts signals how they are feeling emotionally. Let your child know that they are important to you and that you are interested in how they are feeling.

Find others in your circle who are willing to support your child and spend time with them. Comforting physical touch is extremely important for children. Give your child lots of hugs and reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Spend one-on-one time listening to their perspectives. Some children (and adults) process events by talking about them over and over again. Be patient with your child as they repeatedly tell the story of the disaster and ask questions.

For more information on helping children handle flood stress go to Chapter 10 of Flood Survival – The Complete Guide on What to do Before, During, and After a Flood.

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