Creating A New Normal: 3 Tips To Help Your Child Find Strength After A House Fire

A fire in your home is devastating to the entire family, but it can be especially traumatic on young children who thrive on consistency and a sense of control over their surroundings. If you've recently experienced a house fire, you're likely looking for ways to help your child come to terms with the event and get back to a new normal. If you're at a loss, consider the following three tips to help your child feel a sense of control over a tumultuous situation. 

Tip #1: Honor Hurt or Lost Pets

You knew at the time of your fire that you're not supposed to remove pets from the home since it can leave the humans in your family in danger of being injured. Unfortunately, your child might not understand this logic and is likely devastated if his or her pet was injured or killed in the fire. 

Because our pets are reflections of ourselves and our most loyal friends, children tend to feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame when their pet is injured or killed in a fire. Depending on the extent of the situation, you'll need to deal with this in one of two ways:

  • If the Pet Died: Although you'll be concerned with insurance claims, working with contractors, and temporary housing, you'll need to make time to honor the pet for the sake of your child. Even if you have your vet dispose of the body, hold a memorial service for the pet at your house. Bury the pet's favorite toy, leash, and collar and write a eulogy recalling some favorite moments between your child and the pet.
  • If the Pet Is Injured: If the pet was injured but survived the fire, you might be counting your blessings while your child is still experiencing anxiety. Allow your child in the room during vet visits and allow him or her to take an active role in giving medications during recovery. 

Tip #2: Replace Security Items

There's a good chance your child's cherished stuffed animal or security blanket was either lost or damaged in the fire. Even if it wasn't in the same room as the fire, the smell of smoke could make the security item unusable. For your child's comfort, make replacing this item a priority. 

Finding a new security item can be harder than first anticipated, especially if you forget the small details of the item. When looking for a replacement, keep the following in mind:

  • Tags that are similarly sized and shaped if your child likes to rub or suck them
  • Similar softness or texture of the item
  • Similar physical dimensions, including weight of a stuffed animal and area of a blanket

Tip #3: Let Your Child Be Involved in Restoration

When you hire a fire damage restoration contractor, the company, like Central Flood Management Inc, will be charged with removing the smoke smell and ash from affected surfaces. This typically requires extensive cleaning and painting, as well as replacing fabrics that have too staunch of a smell to them. 

Your child's bedroom is just as important to him or her as yours is to you. Allow your child to be present for the discussions with the fire restoration contractor, even if she or she doesn't necessarily have a say in how the contractor will handle the room. 

Your child should be given some choices, however, to help feel a sense of control over the restoration of the room. For example, you and the child can work together to choose new bedding, paint colors, and decorations. Help your child feel better about the change by coming at it positively yourself. Arrange a special time where you'll go and create a "big kid" room, so you're not just replacing objects but making it a growing experience for the child. 

Although a house fire is devastating for the entire family, how you guide your child through the recovery process directly affects how he or she responds to the anxiety. Your child will likely feel a loss of control and security while the whole family tries to regain normalcy. Help your child feel more comfortable in the situation by allowing him or her the opportunity to mourn pets, find comfort in security items, and take an active role in putting his or her room back together.