How should an earthquake be explained to a child?

How to Tell the Child about the Earthquake
How to Tell the Child about the Earthquake

Specialist Clinical Psychologist Müjde Yahşi gave important information about the subject. Children under the age of 8-10 cannot think abstractly. Because they think concretely, they have difficulty in processing how the earthquake happened in their minds. Therefore, earthquake is an ambiguous concept in children's minds.

Uncertain concepts frighten children and may lead to increased anxiety in children. Children with an increased level of anxiety feel intense anxiety, insecurity and fear. While they may show psychological symptoms such as having fearful dreams, fear of being alone, bedwetting, thumb sucking, nail biting, stuttering, and introversion, they may also show physical symptoms such as unreasonable stomachaches, nausea, and sleep disturbances.

The earthquake can also cause obsessive thoughts in the child such as "I am responsible for this incident, the earthquake is happening because of me, this happened to us because I treated my mother badly, I am a bad person".

Or an earthquake in the child's eye; It can also be perceived as utopian thoughts such as "Who is shaking our house or school, is someone shaking, are dinosaurs attacking us".

That's why we need to make this ambiguity specific in the child's mind. We should tell this event in accordance with the development of the child. At this point, games and toys should be our communication tools.

The earthquake, which we describe by concretizing and playing, does not make the child anxious and it becomes more understandable for the child. For example, by making use of toys; “Let me tell you something, do you know how an earthquake happens? There are huge rocks side by side under the ground like this, they get old all the time, then they break down little by little, they shake the other rocks standing next to them as they crumble, that's all, we are shaking because we are above the ground.” The explanations we will make by concretizing as such will comfort the child and help the child to the earthquake event. it does not have extraordinary meaning.

If the adult is experiencing intense anxiety, he should not make the child feel it and should be able to control his reactions. He should never forget that he has a child with him. Particularly, the reactions of parents or teachers during an earthquake are very important. Because children are more affected by the reactions of the people around them than by the earthquake.

Behaviors that include panic, crying, screaming, fainting and running away without looking back can cause traumatic effects on the child during the incident. Where there is anxiety and danger, there is no trust. For this reason, the first emotion that parents and teachers should give to the child during and after the earthquake is the feeling of trust. The child should not feel threatened and the message "You are safe" should be given. Confidence sentences should be used, such as "Our school and home are very solid and we are always by your side".

Specialist Clinical Psychologist Müjde Yahşi said, “Emotions, thoughts and experiences about the earthquake should not be discussed at length with the child. Another important point is that in order not to abuse the interest shown by the child, suggestions should be made in accordance with the character of the child and the transfer of emotions should not be exaggerated. Just as we are taking some precautions for an earthquake physically, we must take precautions by preparing ourselves and our family spiritually," he said.

Günceleme: 25/11/2022 15:22

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