BATON ROUGE — Children who are Louisiana flood survivors may have an especially difficult time during the stressful holiday season.
The August flood may have frightened and confused children because they’re in temporary housing, attending a new school or coping with their family’s losses. They may respond by demonstrating fears, sadness or behavioral problems.
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Your children may be afraid of the following:
The flood will happen again.
Someone close to them will be harmed.
They will be left alone or separated from family.
The following are some tips to help reassure your children during the holidays:
Personal contact is reassuring. Hug your children.
Calmly provide factual information about the flood and current plans for ensuring their safety along with recovery plans.
Encourage your children to talk about their feelings.
Spend extra time with your children such as at bedtime.
Re-establish your daily routine for work, school, play, meals and rest.
Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life.
Praise and recognize responsible behavior.
Encourage your children to help update a family disaster plan.
Use a social support system of family, friends, community organizations and faith-based institutions.
Crisis counselors are available at all FEMA disaster recovery centers. To find a center near you, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or text DRC and your ZIP code to 43362. You can also find a center near you by downloading the FEMA mobile app or going online to fema.gov/drc.
For more information regarding the Crisis Counseling Program or to set up an appointment for counseling, call the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health at 866-310-7977 or the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-985-5990.