Meet the needs (physical, health, emotional) of children, families, and staff.
Provide a supportive and caring environment that brings normalcy back into children’s lives.
Recovery may include some or all the following actions:
restoring our services and returning to normal functions as quickly as possible
monitoring how staff, children, and families are doing
identifying what interventions are available for children, families, and staff
debriefing everyone involved, including first responders and community partners
implementing learning activities that address the crisis
capturing lessons learned and incorporating them into trainings and revisions to our Emergency Plan
Addressing children’s emotional needs
After a serious emergency, children need to be assured they will be okay, and that adults will take care of them and keep them safe. Children may be afraid the emergency will occur again, they will be injured, or left alone. Children may even interpret disasters as punishment for real or imagined misdeeds. Explain that the emergency was a natural event.
Children will be less likely to experience prolonged fear or anxiety if they know what to expect after an emergency. Here are some suggestions for helping them deal with a traumatic situation:
Talk about your own experiences with emergencies or read aloud a book about them.
Encourage children to express feelings of fear. Listen carefully and show understanding.
Offer reassurance. Tell the child that the situation is not permanent and provide physical reassurance through time spent together and displays of affection.
Include children in simple and supervised clean-up activities. It is comforting to children to watch the center begin to return to normal and to have a job to do.
Get children involved in artwork (drawing, clay etc.) to help them express emotions.
Prepare children BEFORE an emergency with drills, activities, books, and other teachable moments.
Remember you may have also paid an emotional toll and may need help coping with anxiety and stress. Be aware of signs of post-traumatic stress and consider reaching out for help.