Although the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has stabilized, it is not over. Meanwhile, earthquake aftershocks are expected to continue for months. Here are several recommendations for parents to help their children cope:

- Monitor children’s television and Internet access – bodies and other graphic imagery may increase anxiety.

- Make sure children understand it’s OK to talk about fears and that it may take time to overcome them. Help them understand that there are no bad emotions and that a wide range of reactions is normal.

- Maintain family routines and rituals.

- Let children help make decisions on choices, like what book to read or what to eat.

- Take time out to relax, both for you and your child.

- Encourage your child to ask questions and be honest with them in simple language they can understand.

- Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. They may vary based on age, but changes in sleep patterns, nightmares and difficulty concentrating can all be symptoms of anxiety related to a disaster.

- Reassure children that you and others will take care of them.Sources: The Center for Traumatic Stress; Jessica Sparling, Sullivans School psychologist; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Some helpful links on what parents should do to help their children cope:

- National Associated of School Psychologists "Global Diasters: Helping Children Cope"

- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry "Talking to Children about Earthquakes & Other Natural Disasters"

- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry "Disaster Trauma Resource Center"

- "Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters, War, and Violence"

- American Psychiatric Association "Talking to Children about Disasters"

- NYU Child Study Center "Talking to Kids About World Natural Disasters"

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