If a child is hurt, extremely distressed or seriously ill, it’s no surprise their parents end up going into a blind panic. There’s that visceral feeling in the gut of sheer terror in the moment. But our kids need us to be strong, and help them through. How do we do that when everything seems to be crumbling to pieces?
Sarah Hunstead is a mum and an experienced paediatric nurse from CPR Kids so she’s felt this panic before but also has the knowhow of keeping it cool. She lists the five most important things you should do so you remain calm in the worst of situations.
1. Push the panic away
Kids become awfully scared if we are panicking so the important thing is to put the panic to the side. Be that strong, constant presence in a time when your child is very frightened.
Listen to Sarah on Kinderling Conversation:
Use that soothing mummy or daddy voice on the outside, even though you’re falling apart inside.
“Children look to us as to how to react,” Sarah says. “If they are injured and sick, they need to have the adult there to be able to keep them calm, talk them through and tell them they’re going to be okay.”
2. Know what to do
Do a pediatric specific first aid course for babies and kids, so you have skills to put into action if something happens.
“You have to know what to do. How do we not panic? By being able to recall that information we’ve learned and by knowing that we have to stay in charge,” Sarah says.
3. Action what you know
The worst thing you can do in a disastrous state, is nothing.
“It’s not just about learning skills,” Sarah says. “But if you’re not confident enough to actually get out there and do it, there’s no point in having them. So an essential part of a first aid course is being able to gain the confidence to do something as well.”
“Communication is one of the big things,” Sarah says.
Stay calm and communicate with your child about what you need to do. For example, explain that you have to sit for a while to put pressure on their head to stop the bleeding. Be honest about it all.
5. Keep it together
“We are the adult here, we need to be looking after them and it’s not about us,” Sarah says. “The key to that is being aware of your own feelings and own reactions.”
For example, if you know you faint at the sight of blood, when it comes to your kids it’s not an option in a desperate moment.
“You’re the grownup. You have got to keep it together,” she continues. “Just think, it’s about them. The things that you love most in the world. If you focus on their problem, their feelings and move away from yourself, then that's how you get in there and stay calm.”
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