Trying to Cope when Disaster Strikes

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imagesCAL08FZFLast week, there was a tornado outbreak in Texas. Yesterday, Oklahoma was devastated by another tornado outbreak. Today, severe weather was forecast again throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Natural disasters such as these, as well as the threat of natural disasters, leave many of us feeling very anxious and uneasy. Young children are impacted by these feelings as well and often pick up on the anxiety that adults are feeling. How do we help these children cope with the tragedy, especially since many of them are not able to express their feelings? Following are some links to information that I hope you will find useful to help your family cope with tragedy induced anxiety.

FEMA READY KIDS is a child-friendly, interactive and fun website accessible from FEMA’s website where children can learn to become “Disaster Action Kids.” The website also offers resources for parents and teachers: FEMA Ready Kids

Sesame Workshop and various project partners created Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies. This interactive website is full of tips, activities, and easy tools to help families prepare for emergencies – together! Sesame Street Planning Together for Emergencies

The following publication from the Red Cross and FEMA gives tips to parents and caregivers about helping children cope with disaster. Tips are also included to help parents and caregivers prepare ahead of time for a disaster. Red Cross – Helping Children Cope with Disaster

The United States Department of Health and Human Services compiled an informational document entitled Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events: A Guide for Parents and Educators. Tips for Talking to Children After Disasters

The Mental Health America website offers quick tips for adults to help children cope with tragedy related anxiety: Mental Health America

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network website has some helpful information related to young children and the stress that develops related to tragedy. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Kelley Estes-Jones

Kelley Estes-Jones

I am Kelley Estes-Jones, an educator with a special interest in helping young children with and without disabilities, their families, and their educational teams build a solid foundation for future learning and overall success. With a strong foundation built upon developmentally appropriate practices, each child has the opportunity rise to a highly successful future within an inclusive environment. As a consultant on the Preschool Services Team at Region 10 Education Service Center, I am realizing my dream of keeping an eye on preschool and helping children, educators, and families build our future.

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