What should you tell your kids about what’s happening.
We’re all watching it on TV, on social media. Scene after scene of boat rescues, flooded streets, people on rooftops. Our kids are watching it, too, and they’re watching our stress levels rise as we worry about what is happening in Houston and to people we might know.
What are we supposed to tell our kids about Hurricane Harvey?
That depends on the age of your child as well as the kind of child you have, says Julia Hoke, a licensed psychologist and the director of psychological services at Austin Child Guidance Center. Most children of preschool age and younger probably don’t need to be told much, she says. Realize that kids that age are very self-centered and think that it must be happening here and to them, Hoke says. Reassure them that you are safe.
If your child is particularly sensitive and tends to worry a lot, be especially careful about what you say.
“You really need to know your individual child,” says Dr. Julie Alonso-Katzowitz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
With elementary schoolage children and older, you can watch TV with them and ask them what their questions are. Answer them honestly but don’t given them any more information than they need. Again, you’re trying to avoid worry about things you and your children cannot control.
Rosanna Garcia and her daughter Mia Franco, 2, stayed at the Smithville Recreation Center after being forced to leave Bay City because of Tropical Storm Harvey. The center sheltered about 40 storm evacuees.