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World events are always a concern for parents. Here are some tips on how you can help your children cope with such emotions:
Maintain your routine. Routines are very important to children. Keeping a regular schedule especially when the world around them seems confusing or unpredictable, gives them a sense of reassurance that they are safe. Make sure children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Children may find it difficult to accept routines and limits but continue by being firm, calm, and supportive.
Avoid overexposure to media. Make sure children are not overexposed to news media. Media can be graphic and if children are watching television they are more likely to feel afraid and confused with the images. Children also don’t have the understanding of time and space yet and may assume that what they are seeing on the television is close to home and may become scared that a disaster will hit in their neighborhood.
Answer their questions. Children fear most when they don’t understand what is happening around them. Make sure when you are answering your children’s questions you are calm and respond at their developmental level. Preschooler’s thinking is concrete and egocentric so keep the answers simple and only to what they need to know. School-age children can be given a more scientific approach such as explaining to them how tsunamis are formed.
Get children involved in the effort. Let your child participate in a charitable function or initiative. This will show children how people around the world are working together to the relief of to those in need. Ask the children what they would like to do. They can send clothes, food or even write letters or email to those in need. There are several charities that they could donate to such as the Global Fund for Children, Save the Children, American Red Cross and United Way, just to mention a few.