We at Building Bright Futures are heartbroken to see our brave little state so impacted by the historic flooding this month. BBF staff work and live statewide, from Cavendish to Westmore, and are grateful for our safety. Families and communities are the foundation of our work. We know many families, child care providers, and small businesses are devastated.
It will take time and resources to recover. These last few weeks have been hard on everyone. Disasters like this can be traumatic for adults and children. We are so heartened to see that the systems created during the pandemic response are repurposed to quickly meet immediate needs. We are not recreating the important resource lists that are already available. Instead, we would like to highlight the social-emotional impact of the floods and provide support for having difficult, trauma-informed conversations.
Children, Parents, and Caregivers
We know talking to young children about floods, natural disasters, and trauma can be stressful. It can be difficult for children to feel safe when their homes and communities are covered in mud and roads have been washed away.
Here are some tips to help parents and caregivers think about ways to talk to kids in age-appropriate ways that can answer questions and reduce anxiety.
- A Guide for Parents and Educators Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events from SAMHSA.gov
- Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event from ChildMind.org
- Here for Each Other, Helping Families After Emergencies from Sesame Street
We also want to acknowledge the wonderful resources and support available at our local Vermont libraries. From playgroups to cooling centers, libraries are community resource hubs and partners in the BBF Network.
Here are book recommendations from our friends at the Cavendish-Fletcher Community Library:
- A Little Spot of Anxiety: a Story About Calming Your Worries by Diane Alber
- Help Your Dragon Deal With Anxiety by Steve Herman
- Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective by Elizabeth Olsen
- What to Do When the News Scares You: A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Current Events by Jacqueline B. Toner
- Calming Your Anxious Child: Words to Say and Things to Do by Kathleen Trainor
Child Care Providers and Businesses
Our friends at Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC) put together a list of resources with child care providers in mind. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) have great business recovery resources.
Vermont Families and Communities
The State of Vermont put together a website with information organized by initial actions, essential needs and services, damage and disaster relief, and how to help.
The Department of Health has information about staying safe and prepared in multiple languages. And the CDC offers advice on how to feed your infants and young children safely without access to clean water.
Some disaster relief is time-sensitive. Families on 3 Squares need to ask for replacement benefits within 10 days, and emergency shelters are currently open (as of July 19) in Barre, Ludlow, and Rutland, and at Northern Vermont University.
Vermont 2-1-1 can answer questions and collect information about the damage to your home or business.