Tips to help Children deal with Tension during Disasters

By Ann Wambui

15.01.2019! What a dark afternoon it was for Kenya as news broke out of an attack at 14 Riverside complex trapping workers, guests, shoppers among others carrying out their usual random activities.

According to President Uhuru Kenyatta address Wednesday morning, about 700 civilians were rescued while unfortunately 14 succumbed to the attack. Thanks to the swift action by the “boys in uniforms”, journalists and civilians coming out to help in one way or another, scores of individuals came out of the building safe and others injured.

But while all this is going on, we must not forget a section of Kenyans who are very inquisitive in almost everything. Wait! Who am I kidding? They have questions to literally everything. Children.

I am sure parents/guardians and caregivers had a maybe tough night helping your children somehow make sense of what is going on. Hiding it from them probably is not the best way to go around because one way or another they will get information from schoolmates and playmates too. Of course, I am referring to that particular age group. You know which one.

However, if you have not still figured out a way to have this conversation, here are some tips that would hopefully help children cope with disasters:

1. First things first, ensure them that they are safe and as a parent you will do everything possible to make sure they are safe.
2. Explain to them terrorist are bad people who want to create fear among everyone.
3. Encourage them to speak about their worries.
4. Let them continue with their usual activities/routine like homework e.t.c.
5. Avoid exposing them to graphic media images to avoid distorting their emotional well-being.
6. Pray with them.
7. Let them know that relevant authorities are doing everything to secure the nation’s safety.
As recommended by Save the Children;

8. Limit television time. As much as adults may want to stay updated with current affairs, this should be done with care to avoid overwhelming children.
9.Listen to your child carefully. Sometimes children express stress in different forms when they do not understand dangerous experiences and therefore adults are urged to be very attentive.
10. Watch out for change in behavior for example sleeping patterns, eating habits and concentration levels.
11. Be a model for your children as they tend to look at how adults respond to situations and grasp from that.

And with these few tips, it is my hope that things will be back to normal in soon time. Keep watch and stay safe with your families. God bless us all.



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