Fears Of Natural Disasters: Home Treatment
Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters can trigger fears in children, even in those who didn't directly experience it. These fears about real events are harder to deal with than fears about imaginary things (like monsters or ghosts). To help your child get over these fears:
- First: Encourage your child to talk about her experiences or worries. Listen carefully to what she's thinking. Don't reassure her about her safety, until you understand her main concerns.
- Second: For fears at bedtime, sit next to your child's bed until she goes to sleep for a few nights. Give her the extra affection and cuddling she needs during the daytime. But don't start any bad habits like letting your child sleep with you all night.
- Third: If your child is having a repetitive nightmare, help her change the scary ending to one in which she fights off the disaster. Help her write a story or draw a picture about the new, happier ending.
- Finally: Expect your child to overcome her fear gradually. Working through a fear usually takes multiple conversations over 2 to 4 weeks. You can't hurry this healing process.
If you have any questions about your child's fears, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.