Children’s Reactions to the fire

Each child is a unique little person and may respond with one or more of the following:

  • Whinny and clingy
  • Refuses to be apart from parent
  • Sleep difficulties, including resistance to fall asleep, stay asleep and nightmares
  • Eating routines may change, constantly hungry or refusing to eat
  • Regressed behaviour (if potty trained may soil, wet the bed, baby talk)
  • Heightened resistance to doing anything
  • Many young children talk of monsters (this is their way of telling parents they are scared)
  • Older children may be hyperviligant to sounds and slight visual distortions
  • The anxious child will ask question after question with no sense of relief to the answer
  • Children that have a high need for control will intensify these behaviours
  • Children that tend to shut down when faced with stress may show sign of depression

A few ideas on how Parents can help:

  • Model taking good care of yourself (eating, sleeping and exercise)
  • Limit the child’s exposure to information on the fire (you are their filter)
  • Acknowledge their feeling states, help them to size their feelings small medium and large
  • Let them know that you get that they are scared to be apart from you, reassure them that you are not going to leave them ( more strategies on this later)
  • If your child’s behaviour is regressed label it for them (that fire was so scary that you needed to be very little again)
  • Give your child time to answer or give them a menu (angry, scared or sad)
  • Do not deny the magical thinking of children help your child fight those monsters, be a collaborator against monsters.   Ask your child how the two of you can fight these monsters.  Put your imagination to work….monster spray away, rituals of any sort help!
  • Normalize the immediate hyper-senses of your children.  Remember this is their alerting system

For Children with temperaments that tend to be anxious, controlling or internalizers:

  • Label what you see for the anxious child… “I notice that you are asking lots of questions and the more answers you get the more questions you ask….I wonder if you are feeling, scared, …

  • Label the behaviour of the controling child.  You are trying to be the boss here…I think you do this when you are angry,…..

  • Label the behaviour of the internalizing child.   I see you are spending a lot of time doing X.  What are you thinking or feeling when you do this…..

If your child likes touch, then provide lots of cuddles and medium to deep pressure massage.

Develop a routine as soon as possible and if your child will separate from you enroll him/her in school or preschool.  Children need time to be with other children that were not exposed to the fire.  This will help their nervous systems regulate and help parent’s too!






We delight in the beauty
of the butterfly
but rarely admit the changes
it has gone through
to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou

You can learn more about
a person in one hour of play
than you can in
one year of
- Plato -