How to Help Your Children Cope with Disasters

Nicholas Long, PhD

Arkansas Children's Hospital and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pediatrics

Tornados, floods and other natural disasters, as well as human-caused catastrophes, can be extremely frightening and stressful to children. Many children experience a normal stress reaction for several days to even a few weeks following a disaster, especially one that has directly impacted them. Such normal reactions may include, but are not limited to, shock, anger, fear, confusion and irritability.

The good news is that most children are quite resilient in the long-term to this type of stress - if they are able to receive effective support and assistance from their parents and other caregivers in the aftermath of the disaster. In other words, it is important to understand that the manner in which parents and other adults interact with children during and following such crises can determine, to a large extent, how effectively the children will cope with the disaster in the long-term.

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Are Smart Phones A Smart Choice for Children?

Sharon Long Centers for Youth & Families

It's a question lots of parents are asking: Should kids have smart phones? For the 6- to 12-year old, probably not. First of all, it is really important for children in this age group to have plenty of time for face-to-face socialization and experience with the ups and downs of directly communicating with others - and this kind of communication needs to be media-free! It is a fact that children at this age learn about friendships, trust, and belonging through direct interpersonal interaction and involvement with others.

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Museum of Discovery Offers Families New Experiences

It is a new day at the Museum of Discovery. After a 10-month renovation, the museum re-opened its doors in January. Located in Little Rock's River Market District, the new facility has a fresh look and feel. It has a new front entrance that opens right up on President Clinton Avenue. Nearly 30,000 people have already visited the new museum.

The museum has almost 90 science and technology exhibits in three new galleries focused on health, physical and earth sciences. Whether one lies on a bed of nails to feel the effects of weight distribution, hears one's own heart beat on a drum, or "experiences" a real tornado and what safety precautions to take, the museum offers a number of educational opportunities for families. And, on any given weekend at the museum, families can find special events, science demonstrations, creative projects in the new tinkering studio, animal interviews and more. It's the perfect place to explore, imagine and create.

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ACH Transforms Pediatric Care in Arkansas with Debut of New South Wing

$121 Million Project is Hospital's Biggest Expansion

Four years after breaking ground, Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) recently opened the doors to its largest ever expansion project, the 258,000-square foot South Wing. The patient facility brings a new standard of care to families in Arkansas with the debut of an entirely new emergency department, updated intensive care units for cardiovascular and neonatal patients and five new outpatient clinics.

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Back to School Immunizations

There are precious few days of summer left. So it's time to start thinking about what your little ones need for the new school year. Are vaccines on the list? Dr Bryan Burke, a pediatrician at ACH and UAMS, has some pointers for parents facing immunizations for their kids.

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Building Tradition with Your Family

In the classic musical, The Fiddler on the Roof, the character Tevye, a father of five daughters, identified a key to effective parenting and strong families when he sang about the importance of "tradition."

Bill Doherty, a well-known family scholar, says, "In contemporary family life, love gets you the first tank of gas; being intentional gives you the refills needed for the long journey." In other words, just because we love one another doesn't mean we will automatically have long-term success in our family relationships. We need to intentionally plan and do things that will help us grow strong and bring us closer together.

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