After the devastating fire in Sherrard, parents may be wondering how to help their kids cope. News eight sat down with a child psychologist to get some advice for parents. It’s a fire that has shocked the Sherrard community.
“We’re all in shock about it and there’s going to be a lot of people who know that family and so there’s going to be an awful lot of people who are touched directly by that,” says psychologist Dr. Richard Hutchinson.
Dr. Hutchinson from the Child and Family Psychology Center in Moline says there are several ways to help a child cope, starting with just talking about it.
“Parents would need to encourage them to talk about it. Parents should actually bring it up,” says Hutchinson.
He says it’s not what a child says, but also what they do and parents should watch for a change in behavior, “bed wetting, really young kids tend to go in circles when they’re confused and anxious or worried about things, changes in play, change in appetite, sleeping habits, all those types of things.”
Other kids may express their feelings through art, by writing and drawing. The most important thing is for parents to reassure their kids that they are in a safe place.
“We have to help them to deal with that to know this is a very rare occurrence kind of thing and it is safe to be asleep,” says Hutchinson.
Also letting them know that grieving is okay, “We really do need to talk about it. Not hush it up and allow all of us to grieve about it and to get over the shock of this occurring,” says Hutchinson.
Dr. Hutchinson also added that parents should make sure to keep their kids’ daily routines as normal as possible that way it offers a sense of security.