Natural Disasters: Helping Kids During Crisis

 • Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
• Limit exposure to television and the news.

• Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
• Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
• Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
• Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
• Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.

Natural Disasters

The American Psychological Association (APA) Health Center
Managing Traumatic Stress: After the Tornadoes 
Recovering from the Wildfires 
Manage Flood-Related Distress by Building Resilience
Strengthening Your Emotional Well-Being Ahead of the Flood

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
For Parents and Caregivers/Hurricanes
Parent Guidelines for Helping Children Impacted by Wildfires 
Wildfires: Tips for Parents on Media Coverage 
Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents

Dealing with Natural & Man-Made Disasters


US Department of Education
Advice on how to help students recover from traumatic events.

Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA

ASCA Webinars on Crisis
Counseling Kids in Crisis
View the webinar

Infusing a Caring Climate in Your School
View the webinar

Supporting Students After Crisis and Loss
View the webinar

Suggested Web Sites

American Red Cross
Recovering Emotionally

FEMA for Kids
Helping Children Cope With Disaster - Talking With Kids About the News
Develop strategies for discussing today's headlines with chlldren. Learn how to calm their fears and stimulate their minds.

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration
Disaster Distress Hotline

The Child Mind Institute
How to Help Children Cope With Frightening News

Crisis Management Institute 

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Sample Documents and Publications

Culturally Competent Crisis Response: Information for Crisis Teams
This document talks about the importance of delivering culturally competent crisis responses in our changing society. Although written for school psychologists, this document provides and excellent resource for school counselors in giving strategies and tips for effective crisis response planning and implementing.

Help for the Helpers

Help for Caregivers/Parents

Suggested Publications

Books for Kids:
“A Terrible Thing Happened”

Margaret M. Holmes

ISBN # 1-57759-696-X

Dalmation Press
, P.O. Box 682068, 
Franklin, TN 37068-2068


Allison Salloum

Centering Corporation
, Chicago, Illinois

“Why Did it Happen?”

Janice Cohen
Morrow Junior Books, 
New York, NY

Books for Parents:
“Children and Trauma: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Heal”

, San Francisco, CA

“The Scared Child: Helping Kids Overcome Traumatic Events”

John Wiley, 
New York, New York

Professional Publications:
“About Traumatic Experiences”

Joy Berry

Children’s Press, 
Chicago, IL

The Scared Child: Helping Kids Overcome Traumatic Events

Barbara Brooks, Paula M. Siegel, (1996)
John Wiley, New York, NY.

Here are detailed instructions, based on professional techniques, to encourage kids of any age—from toddler to teenager—to reveal their feelings through words, drawings, and role playing with step-by-step advice for reassuring them and helping them let go of their fear.