When Crisis Occurs - A Reference Guide for Parents




A crisis or safety concern may occur at any time In our community or in neighboring communities. Children may be confused and/or frightened by information they hear in conversations and in news reports, and they will look to adults for guidance as to how to react. The following quick reference offers parents suggestions for establishing a sense of security and safety to help children cope in a crisis situation. Additionally, following a crisis, the school psychologist, school social worker, school counselors, and members of the school division’s Critical Incident Team are available to assist students.


Emotional Support:


  • Limit the amount of exposure your child has to the internet and televised news reports. Repetitive discussion of the situation may re-traumatize a child.
  • Be honest with your children about what has occurred and provide facts about what has happened.  Use age appropriate terms for better understanding.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about his or her feelings and concerns. Share your feelings with your child.
  • Reassure your child that he/she is safe.
  • Spend extra time with your child, especially doing something relaxing for both of you.
  • Watch for ongoing signs of difficulty which could indicate that your child may need additional help. Some warning signs are withdrawal from social contact, change in eating or sleeping habits, nightmare, and unusual clinging.


Community Mental Health Services


South County Office

8350 Richmond Highway, Suite 415, Alexandria, Virginia 22309

Phone:  703-704-6355, Fax: 703-704-6687, TTY: 703-704-7022


Springfield Office

8348 Traford Lane, Suite 400, Springfield, VA 22152

Phone:  703-866-2100, Fax: 703-451-7539, TTY: 703-451-1245


Woodburn Center

3340 Woodburn Road, Annandale, Virginia 22003

Phone:  703-573-0523, Fax: 703-280-9518, TTY: 703-645-0016

Lazarus, P.J., Jimerson, S.R., Brock, S.E. (2002) Helping children after a natural disaster: Information for parents and teachers. Retrieved September 1, 2005, from http:www.nasponline.org