Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family—During and After Violent Events in Your Own Community
When violence happens close to you, you are shaken to the core. It’s extra important to take care of yourself so you can better comfort and protect children. Little ones learn lifetime lessons by watching their parents take care of themselves and build their own resilience.
In the Worst First Moments
- “Dig deep” for the best, strongest parts of yourself. This will help keep you steadier and remind you that you can keep it together for your little ones.
- Be on the lookout for first responders and aid workers, and get information about all the help that’s available.
- Know that we’re stronger together. If you’re around people you don’t know (or you don’t know your neighbors), introduce yourself (maybe to other parents with children close in age to yours) and find ways to help one another.
- Be patient with yourself as you begin to cope with what has happened. Healing takes time.
- Helping others and being of service, even in small ways—and even when you’re in need of help too—can make a difference in how you’re feeling.
As Recovery Begins
- Remind yourself that this situation (and the way you feel right now) will not last forever.
- Remember that this experience can make you and your family stronger. Explain that to your children.
- Comfort yourself and your children in any way you can, such as singing special songs or wrapping yourselves up in a blanket together.
- Take care. As much as you can, eat well, get some sleep, take breaks, and let yourself begin to do some small things you enjoy (if possible, make a playlist of music that inspires you to keep going).
- Talk with other parents and caregivers about your experiences, worries, challenges (and successes!) in this situation. Find ways to support each other.
- Begin to seek out extra help from friends and family who are good listeners. Take advantage of available resources such as doctors or counselors.