Every parent's security blanket & instruction manual
Many families are dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, flooding, and power outages. These natural disasters are challenging for everyone, but especially your young child, who can absorb the general anxiety and intense feelings within a family.
As a result of these disasters, your child may cry more easily, have a lower tolerance for frustration, experience more separation anxiety, engage in more power struggles, be more aggressive, be more clingy, have sleep issues, and be generally off-kilter.
It is important that we are aware of the context of your child's behavior and that we bring additional compassion to our children and ourselves at this time. Some guidelines for calming your child in natural disasters:
- Keep to the usual schedule. Routine is helpful.
- Plan low-key activities. These can be anchors to help ground all of us.
- Plan structured, focused, tactile activities. These can be containers for anxiety: coloring books, mazes and dot-to-dots, puzzles, sticker books, playdough, crafts, sand play, books, paint-by-numbers, tic-tac-toe, painting rocks or other objects, sticker books, puzzles, beads to string, Lite Brite, and lace cards. Games such as Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Go Fish cards, checkers and computer games can also help your child feel less anxious.
- Monitor exposure to tv and adult conversations that your child may find disturbing
- Anticipate that you and your child may be worried, sad, anxious, or angry and that these feelings may be displaced onto another person or activity
- Help your child play through their experiences. Make suggestions and foll their responses---try water play, such as washing cars or dolls' hair in dealing with floods; build with blocks, knock down the structures and re-build in dealing with tornados and hurricanes; paint with orange and blue and red to help deal with fires. Play is healing for your child.
- See iBlankie articles/apps on Separation Anxiety for additional help for your child's anxiety.
- Be gentle with your child and yourself
©Irene Shere, LLC