Sometimes, as adults, we forget that as scary as earthquakes are to us they are even more frightening to children. With that in mind, FEMA has some suggestions for the smallest victims.
In their publication, "Earthquake Preparedness: What Every Child Care Provider Needs to Know" the National Association of School Psychologists states that "Some children and adults may have reactions very soon after the event, while others may experience problems weeks or months later."
And to deal with those reactions, FEMA has the following tips.
- Express your own concerns openly, and let students know that it’s normal to be afraid.
- Encourage the children to talk about their fears. Help them sort out what is real from what is unreal.
- Watch children for ongoing signs of emotional distress (avoiding things that remind them of the event, appearing numb or withdrawn, having nightmares).
And finally, FEMA says when it comes to kids, don't be afraid to "Let children know that you understand why they are scared. Comfort them with a hug or reassuring words. Tell them they are safe with you & you will look after them."