1. Encourage children to talk
Even if a child seems fine, let them know that their feelings are important and let their voice be heard. Children who get a chance to speak about their own feelings and experiences often recover much more quickly.
2. Involve kids in the cleanup
Previous research on flooding shows that children who are involved in the cleanup and recovery process, have a much better sense of the situation and experience less trauma. This doesn’t have to be big tasks – just whatever they are capable of.
3. Know that they might struggle
Monitor your child’s behaviour and keep a close eye on them to check if they are acting differently. Try not to criticise your child for any changes in behaviour and instead talk to them about their feelings about what has happened.Let them know they are safe and you love them.
4. Give kids the facts
If it’s happened once, there is every chance it could happen again. You may need to educate yourself first, but teach your child about the causes of natural disasters such as flooding, as well as the ways you can protect yourselves as a family in the future.
5. Try to create a routine and stick to it
Try to maintain as much routine in your child’s life as possible. This might be hard if you have to move to temporary accommodation or if their school closes, but by maintaining routine that you can control – like meal and bed times – you can provide a sense of reassurance.
A version of this article previously appeared in The Conversation.