Whether the flames are coming up the canyon behind your back yard or the smoke is miles away, child therapist Debra Jedeikin says children are affected by the fires.
They may feel anxious and insecure as they hear their parents talk about the fires or watch TV coverage, she says. Those children may not express their fears to you, but it could be acted out by them withdrawing, being agressive, disobedient or whining.
Jedeikin says it is important for parents to understand their children's feelings and stay calm and supportive.
The licensed therapist has these suggestions to ease your children's potential distress:
- Keep them close
- Provide active support and encourage children to express their feelings
- Dedicate time to talk to them
- Keep them away from media images which may instill fear
- Allow them to play and do artwork
- Play soothing music
- Reassure them it is your job to take care of them and they don't need to worry