Fears Of Natural Disasters: Prevention
The news of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other uncontrollable acts of nature can be scary for adults. For children, this information can cause bedtime fears, nightmares, or a fearful view of the world. Here are some tips for protecting your child:
- First: Don't let children under 12 years of age watch the television news about the event. The pictures of bloody faces, twisted bodies and massive destruction are too frightening for many children to process psychologically. Treat this part of the news like you would an R-rated movie.
- Second: If you live near the disaster and decide to tour the area of devastation, leave the kids at home. The visual memory of such a tour can be overwhelming to young children.
- Third: If you have fears of the catastrophe, discuss them with other adults - but not while your children are listening. They need to feel that you can protect them and keep them safe.
- Fourth: Help your child talk about the event if he is aware of it. School-age children get all kinds of misinformation from friends at school. Help them put things into perspective. Listen to your child calmly and provide as much reassurance as possible.
In summary, while we can't prevent natural disasters, we can protect our children from needless fears. 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.