Rain is all over the country, obviously here in Melbourne it is not as severe as in Queensland but It’s just started raining again and the forecast is for it to continue over the next few days.
With all the news coverage of the floods, whether you want to see it or not it is fairly unavoidable and personally I like to keep current with the information and I wouldn’t be compassionate putting my head in the sand. But sometimes it isn’t in the best interest of the little people in our lives to have ongoing vision of the current tragedy.
Each to their own as to how much vision you allow. In dealing with the information sharing, as a baseline if they are old enough to ask questions or express worry and concern then they are old enough to be explained the current situation to a point that is age appropriate.
Questions have already started in my household about whether the current rain means that our house will flood. Many children I have seen during therapy also get concerned about this type of natural disaster and at times when there is no recent event. There is a spectrum of worry and even the most relaxed and secure child may start asking questions considering the current conditions.
Obviously those in flood affected areas do have a reason to question this but those of us who are relatively safe and mostly dry, how do we address this with children? Below I have listed some strategies to assist:
* Reassure that they are safe and you will keep them safe
* Acknowledge their concern and feelings and explain that it is normal to feel and think this way and that is ok to feel sorry for those in the situation.
* Highlight to them the chances of flooding occurring is most unlikely.
* Explain that the floods in Queensland are not common and rarely occur (if old enough explain the last floods to this extent were nearly 40 years ago)
* Provide them with facts not emotion if they continue to ask questions. Emotional responses will only escalate their fear.
* Some children may understand better visually – draw a scale/thermometer and put their worries in context for them visually. i.e chances of flood occurring and chances of them having dinner. Make comparisons age appropriate.
If their worry becomes too excessive and they continue to ruminate:
* Distract them with encouraging images and activities related to water – jumping in puddles, water toys and tables, water paints, washing toys, dishes, clothes
* Calm them with distraction activities the usual =) – Lego, reading, baking, colouring, painting, creating activities, play doh and as already mentioned age-appropriate.
If questions persist and most are always about safety. Explain that if it was a worst case scenario:
* Emergency services are in place and are skilled to help people in these types of situations
* Explain that friends, family, neighbours will all help each other
* Speak about donating and explain this helps people when they have had to leave their home.
Is there any other strategies that you have found useful for your children if they have been worried? Do share in the comments below.