Interventions at Home

Interventions at Home for Preschoolers to Adolescents

Tips for Talking to Children about Difficult Situations

Following exposure to a disaster or traumatic event, children are likely to show signs of stress.

Signs include sadness and anxiety, outbursts and tantrums, aggressive behavior, a return to earlier behavior that was outgrown, stomachaches and headaches, and

an ongoing desire to stay home from school or away from friends. These reactions are normal and usually do not last long. Whether your child is a preschooler, adolescent, or somewhere in between, you can help your child by following the suggestions below.

Preschooler

¨ Stick to regular family routines.

¨ Make an extra effort to provide comfort and reassurance.

¨ Avoid unnecessary separations.

¨ Permit a child to sleep in the parents’ room temporarily.

¨ Encourage expression of feelings and emotions through play, drawing, puppet shows, and storytelling.

¨ Limit media exposure.

¨ Develop a safety plan for future incidents.

Elementary Age Children

¨ Provide extra attention and consideration.

¨ Set gentle but firm limits for acting out behavior.

¨ Listen to a child’s repeated telling of his/her trauma experience.

¨ Encourage expression of thoughts and feelings through conversation and play.

¨ Provide home chores and rehabilitation activities that are structured, but not too demanding.

¨ Rehearse safety measures for future incidents.

¨ Point out kind deeds and the ways in which people helped each other during the disaster or traumatic event.

Preadolescents and Adolescents

¨ Provide extra attention and consideration.

¨ Be there to listen to your children, but don’t force them to talk about feelings and emotions.

¨ Encourage discussion of trauma experiences among peers.

¨ Promote involvement with community recovery work.

¨ Urge participation in physical activities.

¨ Encourage resumption of regular social and recreational activities.

¨ Rehearse family safety measures for future incidents.

¨ It is important to remember that you do not have to “fix” how your child feels. Instead, focus on helping your child understand and deal with his or her experiences. Healing is an evolving state for most children, but some may need professional help.

¨ If signs of stress do not subside after a few weeks, or if they get worse, consider consulting a mental health professional who has special training in working with children. In time, and with help, your children will a return to health.

Note: Inclusion of a resource in this fact sheet does not imply endorsement by the Center for Mental Health Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NMH02-0138

9/2005

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



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