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How should the earthquake be explained to children?

In this period when we are in mourning as a country, it is necessary to explain the fact of the earthquake to children, but it is very important to explain the earthquake to children in accordance with their age. Experts say that “the earthquake should be explained to children in a simple and real language as much as possible.”

An earthquake is not just a physical jolt; It is a situation that also shakes the feeling of “I am safe” psychologically. At this point, you need to say to your child, “There has been an earthquake and this is a very important issue, but we are safe and we are together”.

Experts do not recommend getting too involved in emotions in young children, instead recommending that you stay calm and hug your child a lot. In addition, you should not watch the news. Because news images and expressions are never suitable for young children. For this reason, you should not watch the news with your children.

For middle school and high school children, you are not the only source of information for your children. Your children learn a lot from their friends as well as from you. For this reason, you can start by asking your middle school and high school children what they know about the current situation of our country in the earthquake. Answer the following questions with short sentences. Don’t tell the details, but always tell the truth.

It can be difficult to talk about your feelings when talking to your middle school high school-aged children. However Psychological Counselor Assoc. Dr. Asli Bugay Sokmezstates that unexpressed emotions will cause greater harm to all of us, and therefore “When talking about feelings, just focus on your child’s feelings instead of focusing on what to say.”says.

Explaining the earthquake to children in accordance with their age period

Specialist Psychologist Tuğçe Dabağer Dilek begins her speech by stating that children under the age of 8-10 have difficulty in making sense of the earthquake in their minds because their abstract thinking skills are not fully formed, and that this concept remains quite uncertain for them, and explains the reflections of this uncertainty on children.

“Uncertain situations frighten children, increase their anxiety, and feel anxious, insecure and fearful. These feelings bring with them both mental and physical symptoms such as nightmares, nail biting, bedwetting and introversion.”

So, how can we explain this disaster to our children?

First of all, the earthquake experienced should be explained to children in a simple and real language as much as possible. At this point, giving too much detail or not talking about it at all can create many question marks in children’s minds. It can be conveyed that an earthquake is a natural event such as rain, snow and other weather events and that the places we step on can move from time to time for this reason.

The second most important step:

The questions asked by the children about the earthquake should not be overlooked and the subject should not be closed. When such a path is followed, the child begins to seek answers to these questions with his own imagination, and this may cause the child to worry more.

‘Open communication with our children is an indispensable step’

Open communication with children is helpful, but the limits of this communication and transmission should also be considered. Detailed conversations about this issue in the presence of our child and continuous exposure of the child to images of earthquakes and debris should be avoided. Children’s overexposure to negative images can seriously undermine their sense of trust. It should not be forgotten that the most important emotion that the child wants to feel and hear in this process is the feeling of security.

Often, children perceive situations happening around them by observing their parents’ reactions. At this point, another important step to be taken is for the parent to try to regulate their own emotional state. Of course, this does not mean to hide our fears and sorrows completely, on the contrary, it means that this uncertainty and fear that our children feel can be expressed together.

On the other hand, it is sometimes not possible for children to verbally express their feelings in this process. In such cases, activities that the child likes, such as playing games and painting, will allow the child to express himself.

Finally, in this process of anxiety, fear and uncertainty, the child’s most basic need is to contact and stay in close contact with a loved one. Therefore, do not neglect to calm your children by establishing frequent close contacts during this period.

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