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November 12th, 2013

Devastating Images of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines can Scare Children

In your home, you may be trying to minimize the visual images of the devastating typhoon that has crippled the Philippines. News reports are filled with horrific images that can be frightening to children.

In today’s high-tech world, it’s hard to completely protect children from the reality of heartbreaking disasters that flood the media. Some children may have lots of questions, such as:

• What happened to some of the people in the Philippines? Did they die?
• Could this happen where I live?
• Am I safe?

The truth is, these questions are not unlike those that adults wonder too. Parents can help their children by first listening calmly to their concerns. Providing a little bit of accurate information can also help children deal with this catastrophe. For example, a parent could say:

Sometimes bad things happen.
• The crisis in the Philippines is terrible, but one that doesn’t happen most of the time. Most people will live an entire lifetime without experiencing a storm like this.

Finally, if your child expresses sadness and concern for the victims, you can say, It’s important to care about other people. It’s good that you are the kind of person who really cares.

Some families may suggest the child draw pictures, write notes, or contribute in some way to agencies providing relief for survivors. During extraordinary times, children can feel better by being encouraged to be compassionate.

If you would like to read more about helping children deal with disasters and emergencies, you may find the following articles helpful:
Emergency Relief Kits Build Resilience in Children and Teens
Earthquake Fears Skyrocket in Kids
The Gulf Oil Disaster Images Hurt Kids