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Like adults, children are able to sense anxiety in those around them, especially adults who are close to them. Unlike adults, though, children often have no way to communicate their fears and are often unable to put those fears in perspective.
To help you help your children and your pediatric patients, the National Mental Health Association in Alexandria, VA, has put together the following tips.
Behavior such as bed-wetting, thumb sucking, baby talk, or a fear of sleeping alone may intensify in some younger children, or reappear in children who had previously outgrown them. They may complain of very real stomach cramps or headaches, and be reluctant to go to school. It’s important to remember that these children are not "being bad" they’re afraid. Here are some suggestions to help them cope with their fears:
Children this age may ask many questions about the disaster, and it’s important that you try to answer them in clear and simple language. If a child is concerned about a parent who is distressed, don’t tell a child not to worry; doing so will just make him or her worry more. Here are several important things to remember with school-age children:
Source: National Mental Health Association, Alexandria, VA. Web site: www.nmha.org.