Suggestion for parents to communicate with children after the earthquake

The earthquake, which hit 10 provinces in Kahramanmaraş, filled the whole of Turkey with worry and sadness. While trying to heal the wounds, Dr. PS. Zeynep Burcu Eriki shared information that will help parents communicate with their children after the earthquake.


Eriki explained how to explain this situation to preschool and primary school students. Eriki said: “No matter how careful you are and keep them away from social media and television, children will be aware of the situation as they socialize. Schools open on Monday. How do you feel? Some of your friends may be upset because there was an earthquake in some parts of our country. Your friends who have acquaintances there might be a little worried about them. Do you want me to explain what earthquake means?’ you can say. If he asks you for an explanation: ‘Earthquake is a natural phenomenon, just like rain and thunder, but less common. There are actually stones under the ground that we step on, the grass and the ground. From time to time these stones can shift, the earth can shake a little. When the world shakes, so do we and so do our things. And then the shaking stops. These are all natural processes. But don’t worry, we’re safe. If something like this happens, me and your mom/dad will be there for you. When making all these statements, it’s important to hug and physically touch as much as possible,” he said.


Eriki listed his other suggestions as follows:

“Such challenging events and strong emotions can cause children to exhibit behaviors that are part of a developmental period younger than their age. For example, they want to sleep with you. You may worry about ‘he gets used to it or always wants to’, but these needs expressed by children must be met in order to feel safe again during this period. When their needs are met, the process will end over time. Children reflect their experiences and emotions in play. is more important than ever to open a space for children to play, to play with them, to enter the roles they are given, to play games that meet their movement needs.Materials such as clay and clay help regulate emotions Don’t worry if they play earthquake games or take pictures, these are children’s ways of expressing and coping with their emotions.

The greatest fear of anxious and frightened children is earthquakes. However, this point can become broader if we do not approach it sensitively. For example, if a child who has completed orientation normally has difficulty leaving his family and coming to school, it is necessary to approach it with compassion and patience, just as at the beginning of orientation.


Expressing that one of the greatest needs of adolescents during this period is to have someone who understands and listens to them, Eriki spoke about what parents who have children in adolescence should do. Eriki says, “You can ask them to take a break from social media and direct them to volunteer or organizations instead. Participating in this type of volunteering will also help them manage their emotions. Don’t hesitate to talk about compelling feelings when communicating with the adolescent. ‘What do you feel? I know you’re scared, you’re sad. We were all scared. We are all very sorry about what happened. How can I help you? You can help him express his feelings with phrases like “don’t worry, we’ll get over it.”

Physical contact, such as a tap on his shoulder, is fine too, as long as he allows it while chatting. In fact, the basic need of all children is to feel safe again. For this reason, while having these conversations with our children, we need to have some balance to fulfill our role as parents, even if it is emotionally difficult. If you’re having very intense emotions, say, “I’m in a safe environment now. Yes, I am very sorry about what happened, but the fact that my mind went into a state of alarm has nothing to do with reality. You can immerse yourself in reality with internal conversations like “The images and news I’ve been exposed to make me feel this way.”

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