» Keep children informed. Parents should make an effort to talk regularly with children, even though responding to a crisis sometimes limits conversation.
» Speak honestly about the situation. Explain to children what is happening, and use simple words that they can understand. Reassure children about their family's safety.
» Comfort and reassure children. A gentle hug or kind word might help a child feel safe and secure during a crisis.
» Involve children in efforts to prepare for or recover from a disaster. Keep assigned tasks safe and age-appropriate, and let children know you appreciate their efforts.
» Maintain routines or rituals. Eating at the kitchen table and reading a story at bedtime may provide young children with a sense of security.
» Talk with children about how you feel, and suggest a positive response. Giving children something to do makes them feel as if they are a part of the family's response to a crisis.
» Show children role models of courage, determination, coping and support. Point out ways of coping that you use.
» Seek professional advice if needed. Contact your physician or a mental health agency if you are worried about your child showing symptoms that are severe or last too long. Call ISU Extension's Iowa Concern hotline, 800-447-1985, or contact your county's ISU Extension office.
Source: Iowa State University Extension