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How to Help Children Cope With the California Wildfires
Date:10/24/2007

2. Listen to your children carefully. Before responding, get a clear

picture of what it is that they understand and what is leading to

their questions. Emotional stress results in part when a child cannot

give meaning to dangerous experiences. Find out what he or she

understands about what has happened. Their knowledge will be

determined by their age and their previous exposure to such events.

Begin a dialog to help them gain a basic understanding that is

appropriate for their age and responds to their underlying concerns.

3. Give children reassurance and psychological first-aid. Assure them

about all that is being done to protect children who have been

directly affected by this crisis. Take this opportunity to let them

know that if any emergency or crisis should occur, your primary

concern will be their safety. Make sure they know they are being

protected.

4. Be alert for significant changes. Parents should be alert to any

significant changes in sleeping patterns, eating habits,

concentration, wide emotional swings or frequent physical complaints

without apparent illness. If present, these will likely subside within

a short time. If prolonged, however, we encourage you to seek

professional support and counseling. For children directly affected by

this crisis -- such as children who have lost a loved one -- parents

should consult their pediatrician or family doctor and consider

counseling, not just for the child, but also for the entire family. It

may be an important preventative measure. But other children also may

be affected by the images they see and stories they hear.

5. Expect the unexpected. Not every child will experience these events in

the same way. As children develop, their intellectual, physical and<
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SOURCE Save the Children
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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