A home getting flooded or being set on fire can be a traumatic event for a child. How the children remember the incident is also determined by the actions after the home damage happens. If you want to make sure your children stay abreast of any household changes and feel as if they have some level of control, you should have them help with the damage rescue. Here are some ways to have children help during the repairs and help them make sense of what happened.
Move them near normalcy
After a fire or flood, the home needs to be vacated for safety and for insurance repairs. Move the children nearby everything they know so that they do not feel alone at this time. If your children are used to playing with children in the neighborhood that attend the same school, move nearby the school or a neighborhood near your own. If you have family or friends around, ask to stay with family or rent a place nearby. Keeping a sense of normalcy will help children adjust to the move.
Give them their own totaling process
Depending on the type of insurance that you have, the insurance is likely to go through the home to determine what needs repairs and what to total out as far as personal property. Make your kids go through this process themselves. Have them audit their belongings to determine what can be saved and what should be gotten rid of. Once they have an "in and out" pile, let them know the budget for replacement of their personal items and ask for tips on how the family should go about this. Some children may want to keep their replacement budget for a rainy day, while others may want to use their replacement funds immediately.
Create something new
While you are temporarily displaced, you and your children should come up with a project to bring back as a welcome home. Depending on what has been destroyed, you may want to make it something useful, that was lost in the fire. An item such as a bookshelf, a new table, backyard furniture, and more can be created as a family project and won't have to come from your insurance repairs budget. When you move back into your newly repaired home, bring this item back first, as a symbolic welcome home gift. Since children often see their family as a safe space, being able to bring the house a "gift" of welcoming may help them feel thankful while settling back in.