Television viewing of Katrina will have psychological effects on children around the country

give them a sense of security, and be open and available to discuss various issues."

The NYU Child Study Center suggests the following advice for parents, family or teachers to help their children cope with the recent tragedy:

  • Limit both your own and your children's exposure to television reports of the event.
  • Discuss the tragedy, but start by finding out what your child understands about the event. Be available for more than one conversation; children's understanding of events and their questions will change over time.
  • Reassure your child of their current safety, and remind them of all the different resources in your community that provide them with safety.
  • Maintain as usual a routine as possible. Maintaining normal bedtimes and participating in familiar activities provides children with a sense of normalcy.
  • When children receive news of a sad and shocking event it is normal for them to have some fluctuations in mood and irritability. Some children will become more clingy and may seek and need more reassurance and contact with caregivers.
  • Help your child regain a sense of control. Let them be proactive by taking them to purchase a toy or other needed goods for a child who was affected by the hurricane.

If you are concerned about your child's reactions to Hurricane Katrina, listen to your parental intuition. A child who has an intense or prolonged reaction, or begins having difficulties at school, with their peers, or at home may need help from a counselor or other mental health professional.

For more information and resources on how to help your child deal with Hurricane Katrina or other traumatic events, visit www.AboutOurKids.org.


Contact: Danielle Grillo
New York University Child Study Center

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