Application Week 1 Kristie Davenport Child, Family and Community Relationships Walden University April 24, 2011/ Week 1 Professor Ferrari Application 1 This assignment has brought to light not only the natural disasters that have befallen us here in the United States, but I found myself thinking of the families in Japan and all of the horrific things those children have seen and experienced. The ways that we as early childhood professionals can help children and families of natural disasters is universal and with the exception of language these same issues apply. It is important to know the extent that the hurricane touched the child’s nuclear family and issues such as if the family was displaced. What necessities is the child may be lacking such as food or clothing How much of the storm is being replayed over again in the child’s life via media How well the parents or primary caregivers handling the disaster and what are does the child need as far as emotional support. Most importantly one needs to when to refer the family to a professional agency when the issues are more that you have training for. Some of the useful information from experts includes: Encourage children to talk about feelings and fears. Talking helps heal and the more you talk about things of this magnitude the better you understand them. Amongst all of the changes in the child’s life provide a stable and secure constant within your environment, somewhere where the child knows what to expect. Give children back some control whether it be an activity to help others or making a special picture for a parent that the child may be concerned about. Teachers should model a calm and reassuring demeanor. Reminding the children that everything will someday return back to normal. Encourage children to look at how brave they are and how proud you are of them. Advise parents to limit media exposure to the disaster as it tends to lead the child to relive the drama and violence. Play children’s videos or send the children out to play, or maybe try a board game. Among many of the problems that arise in the wake of such a disaster as Katrina one that is of the upmost importance is the feelings of safety and security that are jeopardized. As an early childhood professional I would strive to maintain a stable and consistent environment where the children would know where everything was and where the routine was predictable. Knowing what comes next is important to children even when they are not faced with the turmoil of a hurricane. As an early childhood professional I would hope to have resources to offer families in need of clothing or other important things that may have been taken away in the storm. Being able to give families the names of agencies and organizations that are there to help in such situations is an important contribution. This assignment has shown me the many ways that the lives of children are impacted by disasters that are unforeseen and totally out of their control. In the case of Katrina thousands of families’ lives were totally destroyed and the feelings of safety and security were also severely damaged. In the early childhood field we have the opportunity and responsibility to be a positive influence in these lives in good and bad times. Understanding family dynamics and child development put us in a position to be a very driving force in the healing and rebuilding process for families after whatever type of disaster may befall them.