Children’s anxiety after a hurricane

Kids’ doctor in Gastonia, NC

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In the aftermath of a hurricane, kid’s doctors warn that children may be experiencing as much stress and anxiety as their parents, and are less well equipped to cope with it. No matter how much you are going through in terms of cleanup, repairing damage and getting caught up on interrupted work, remember to keep an eye on their emotional state.

The storm itself can be terrifying, of course – not only for its force but for its persistence. A thunderstorm passes in an hour, but a hurricane can linger over the Gastonia, NC area in one form or another for more than a day. If you have to evacuate temporarily due to flooding, this can create the fear of being uprooted. And children are very aware of the emotional state of their parents – if you find the recovery stressful, they will find it stressful even if they aren’t asked to do anything.

Signs of anxiety

Kids’ doctors say that signs of anxiety can be open expressions of fear about loss or separation, talking excessively about the hurricane, or fears of another hurricane coming. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, there can also be subtler signs, such as hyperactivity, increased aggression, withdrawal from others, irritability, difficulty in paying attention or becoming more sensitive to loud noises. Children may lose their appetite or have trouble sleeping. They may even begin behaving as they did at a much younger age. 

Reassuring children

You should be prepared to talk with your child about hurricanes for as long as necessary. Answer all their questions, pausing to look things up if you don’t happen to know the answers. Remind them that a hurricane is something that people can see coming for days in advance.

In order to help your children manage their anxiety, take care to manage your own. Pace yourself when cleaning up, taking the work a little at a time and giving yourself a chance to recover. Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible, to create a sense of returning normality. If you can find a way for your children to safely take part in helping get your home back in order, this may make them feel better as well.

A kids’ doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a kids’ doctor conveniently located west of Charlotte. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics Associates is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you are looking for a kid’s doctor, call today.