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Fact Sheet: How to Help Children Cope with Hurricane Harvey

Release Date: 
September 26, 2017

Children in Texas may be struggling emotionally in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

They May Need More Help If …

  • They had direct exposure to the hurricane and flooding, experienced an evacuation, saw injured or dying people, or were in situations in which their own lives were threatened.
  • They suffered personal loss due to the death of – or serious injury to – a family member, close friend or pet.
  • They are experiencing ongoing stress from their current situation, were living in a shelter, lost contact with their friends, lost things that are important to them, their parents lost their jobs or they are experiencing severe financial hardship.

What Parents and Caregivers Can Do

  • If you are calm and confident, you will encourage the child to feel less afraid.
  • Be a good listener. Answer questions directly using words the child will understand.
  • Give honest answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Calmly provide answers, even if the question is painful to you.
  • Be prepared to explain things over and over again. Sometimes children need time to process and understand events. Vary the words you use.
  • Spend extra time with your children. Younger ones will need extra hugs and reassurance. Older children may need more time to express themselves.
  • Adopt routines for work, school, play, meals and rest. Familiar schedules are comforting.

To talk to a professional about your children, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, visit www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov or text TalkWithUs to 66746.  

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Last Published Date: August 14, 2018
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