How to help a child in a stressful situation
Children feel their parents’ anxiety, panic and feel acutely. To minimize the negative influence on childrens’ psyche, the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine has issued the following recommendations:
- Talk to the child about their feelings, discuss their emotions. Let them know that fear of the unknown is normal. You can convey this message using both verbal and non-verbal means of communication such as drawing or play-acting.
- Be there for them. The child needs to feel your support. Whenever you feel panic, remember that you need to be there for your child. They don’t understand what is going on, so try to stay calm for them.
- Discuss your possible plan of action with them. Explain what they’ll need to do in possible situations and come up with a plan. Explain why it’s important for them to do what you ask them to by saying things like “This way we’ll be safe” or “That way I won’t have to worry about you”.
- Enjoy an activity together. Try to read a book together, or listen to an audiobook. You can also try drawing together, or singing. Enjoying a fun activity together will help the child feel supported.
- Control your emotions. The best thing you can do to help your child is to control your own emotions. They need you to be able to think clearly, assess the situation and keep your own fear at bay,
Important! The child should have their own “emergency suitcase”. It should contain information with your contacts, as well as recorded medical information: blood type, possible allergic reactions and medical conditions of the child. Write your contact information on the clothes the child will be wearing.
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