California Wildfires: How to Support Infants and Young Children

One of my favorite sights of Napa…looking up to see a sky filled with hot air ballons.

I was in Napa the weekend that the Napa county fires started. I travel once a month for a postgraduate fellowship program where I learn topics related to infant-family mental health from some of the country’s distinguised luminaries in the field of infant mental health. I was able to see one of the fires on my way to the airport and assumed that it was nothing to worry about as I thought it was just a small shrub fire. By Monday morning, I had awoken to news about the extent of the fires. Often times during and after natural disasters, parents starts to worry about how their child might be impacted by those events. If you are feeling like lost in how to support your child who has experienced a natural disasters or any other event that may be traumatic, I have attached a handout written by Dr. Kristie Brandt, director of the UC Davis Napa Infant- Parent Mental Health fellowship as well as Dr. Bruce Perry, internationally renowned psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and traumatologist.  Here are a few highlights from their handout:

“Trauma” is what the person experiences inside and is not the event itself, so one child may be experiencing traumatic stress while another child may not.”

“Watch for what your child is telling you they need. Your nearby presence or the nearby presence of another trusted caregiver or teacher is probably the single most important factor in helping a child recover in a healthy way from a disturbing event.”

For more information on how to support infants and children who have experienced natural disasters, click on the following link: Fire Response 10-17-17

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