The Oklahoma City County Health Department responds to Monday's tornado in Moore and Southern Oklahoma City. The Child Guidance Clinic at OCCHD offers some tips to parents with concerns for the mental well-being of the children affected by this tragedy.
1. Focus on safety first! Make sure your child has a feeling of safety. If you are displaced, secure shelter immediately, preferably with someone your child knows already.
2. Comfort your child through games, singing songs or even through lots of hugs. Give verbal reassurances that they are safe.
3. Allow your child to express his/her feelings about what has just occurred. Make sure they understand what has happened (to an age appropriate degree of disclosure) and what you plan to do as a family for the next few days.
4. Try to limit your child's exposure to media coverage of the disaster. Ask that other adults around your child be very aware of their conversations, as well.
5. Connect yourself and your child with a support system ASAP. Maintaining contact with family, church members and friends will help you and your child retain some sense of normalcy in the midst of this situation.
6. Maintain personal care for yourself, through proper eating, sleeping and medical care. Your child will usually follow your lead on how to handle this situation. Try to stay as positive as you can.
7. Allow 3-4 weeks for your child's behavior to return to normal. At that point, if you have any concerns do not hesitate to seek professional help. The Child Guidance Clinic at the OCCHD is available to assist you as well.
For more information please contact the Child Guidance Clinic at OCCHD at 405-425-4412.