Evacuating home can be hard for children

Posted at: 09/18/2013 6:24 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The recent storms and flooding in New Mexico has forced several families from their homes. As families live in shelters or with relatives a pediatrician says it's hard on the entire family, but especially on children.

"Really trying to be as calm as you possibly can for your child will be probably the most helpful," said ABQ Health Partners pediatrician Kristina Gutierrez-Barela.

Gutierrez-Barela encourages parents to talk to their children about what they fear the most. If they can bring a piece of home, like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, it can make them feel more at home.

"Interact with others who are going through the same things and perhaps they can connect with other people their age," Gutierrez-Barela said. "It might help to help form some sort of bonding or support group for each other."

Gutierrez-Barela says it's important to talk about weather. Parents can be be more scientific with older kids and simpler with young ones.

If children get scared next time it rains, experts say it's important to remind them the last situation was rare.

"Just try to calm them each time and say, what happened last time, we were safe, we were taken care of and that was the worst case scenario," Gutierrez-Barela said.

If your child needs more help experts recommend visiting a pediatrician who can direct you to a behavioral health specialist.