Rochester School District

Rochester Schools at the Heart of the Community

Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster

·         Provide children with opportunities to talk about what they are seeing on television

and to ask questions.

·         Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t answer all their questions.

·         Answer questions at a level the child can understand.

·         Provide ongoing opportunities for children to talk.  They will probably have more

questions as time goes on.

·         Allow children to discuss other fears and concerns about unrelated issues.  This is a

good opportunity to explore these issues also.

·         Monitor children’s television watching.  Some parents may wish to limit their child’s

exposure to graphic or troubling scenes.  To the extent possible, watch reports of the

disaster with children.  It is at these times that questions might arise.

·         Help children understand that there are no bad emotions and that a wide range of

reactions is normal.  Encourage children to express their feelings to adults (including

teachers and parents) who can help them understand their sometimes strong and

troubling emotions.

·         Try not to focus on blame.  In addition to the tragic things they see, help children identify good things, such as heroic actions, families who are grateful for being reunited, and the assistance offered by people throughout the country and the world.

This link has more information on communicating with children in difficult situations.