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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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How to explain disaster to children?

Children are one of the groups most affected by disasters and in need of protection, according to their age.

It would be meaningful to talk to children about disasters first, in accordance with their age development characteristics, without creating anxiety and fear, just to inform them that such things can happen in nature.

Especially for young children, concretizing what is spoken in addition to speaking contributes to meaning. You can make use of books, games for concretization, and you can describe it by drawing a picture.

You can also make an “Emergency Plan”. You should talk about what to do to protect yourself in case of disaster, draw and rehearse as a game.

What are the symptoms that can be observed after a traumatic experience in children?

Children expect their environment to be predictable, consistent, and easily accessible to their primary caregiver. However, trauma experiences that are directly experienced, witnessed by others, or heard afterwards may damage the perceptions of children about the safety of the environment they live in, and may make them vulnerable to trauma experience.

Deterioration in sleeping and eating habits, mood and behavior changes, fears, babyish behaviors, regression in toilet habits, crying for no reason, startles, night fears, inability to be separated from mother, not to be alone, emergence of new fears and anxieties, inability to play games, repetition of themes related to earthquakes in games, Aggressive behavior, restlessness, unexplained pain, nausea, introversion are the most obvious reactions.

How can we support children affected by the earthquake?

It is important to inform children about events in short and clear sentences in a language they can understand without giving false information. Let him ask questions and give truthful and simple answers to his questions. Reassure him, make him feel safe. Show your love often.

Help them express their feelings by being patient and caring.

Spend more time together before bed. Organize tension-relieving activities. Try to maintain or mimic their daily habits (eg meal and bedtimes).

It has been observed that on days when the effects of trauma are experienced intensely, talking with children, providing play, painting, movement and sharing opportunities provide change and emotional support for children.

Article: Expert Psychologist Buket Kamis

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