Helping Kids Cope After A Disaster

Typhoon Ondoy did not only damage homes and furniture but the emotional state of people as well. This is what I learned from the recent calamity that hit our country. I am thankful that my home was miraculously spared from the flood did not damage our property but my relatives greatly suffered from it.

My nephew was with his maternal grandmother in Marikina when the waters rose. He spent the whole Saturday night drenched in rainwater on the roof with his nanny. You see, his mom works in Singapore and my brother works night shifts so he stays with my brother's in-laws on weekdays. My brother was supposed to get him that fateful Saturday morning but he ended up being stranded in Cainta. Father and son were finally reunited yesterday. When we tried to give my nephew a bath because his clothes were all muddy, he wailed and he did not want to get wet. That's when I knew that he is emotionally affected by the calamity.

Kids, especially the smaller ones, have difficulty in accurately expressing how they feel. My nephew is only four years old and it is very unusual for him to be clingy. I feel that it is because he knows he cannot protect himself just in case the waters rise again that he doesn't want to be separated from an adult or his dad.

I made a research on ways to help him cope with his feelings and these are just some points I have learned. I hope you can also use these to help your kids or other kids who have suffered from this calamity.
  • Constant hugging and touching is advised. These kids are scared that the disaster will happen again and they need reassurance that they will be protected.
  • Perform the usual daily routine at home. They need to slowly go back to the normal and this will make them comfortable and at peace.
  • Keep the kids busy. I gave my nephew a special notebook and some pencil and crayons so he can keep scribbling and drawing. We don't let him watch TV yet as there are so many flash reports about the post-typhoon relief efforts.
  • Be generous in giving praises and recognition. These will help them feel a little better each day.
  • Understand that their unusual behavior is their way of coping with stress. My nephew cries a lot and he craves for attention. I cannot afford to get annoyed because I need to be understanding. Getting mad over his behavior will only add to his stress.
Kids are not like us, their young minds cannot process these complex and stressful thoughts yet. Let us care for them not only by giving what their bodies need but their feelings as well.

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  1. kawawa naman ang pamangkin mo. maybe kailangan niya ang stress debriefing or someone sa inyo na kaya mag-attend ng mga ganitong cases. may mga residente naman sa apektadong lugar ang konting ulan lang talagang natatakot na sila agad.

    alam mo kami hindi naman naapektuhan maliban sa butas na bubong pero kinakabahan din ako dahil malapit kami sa la mesa dam.


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