Q: Hurricane Sandy didnt come near where we live. However, while we were all worried about the people it affected, my 8-year-old daughter became very frightened and upset. Is that kind of anxiety nutty or normal?
GEORGIA P., St. Louis
A: Children often personalize situations fearing that bad things will happen to themselves, their family or friends. So your child isnt nutty, but you are describing anxiety thats not constructive. You want to help her get over this and then find ways to prevent her from getting that upset next time theres news of another natural disaster or some man-made tragedy.
Heres how to ease her upset mind:
1. Limit your familys exposure to TV, Internet and tabloid news stories the 24/7 news cycle fuels repetitive and dramatic reporting of even minor details.
2. Kids pick up on negative parental vibes, so accentuate the positive. Point out how brave the first responders are; how the early-warning system saved lives; and how people are pulling together to help one another.
3. Show your child there are many ways to help those who have been affected by the incident. Volunteer as a family to provide assistance; for example, you can gather goods to donate to those in need. If your daughter feels shes helping to improve the situation, it becomes less frightening.
4. To counter stress, make sure the whole family gets plenty of physical activity, enough sleep and eats well. Enjoy blood-sugar-stabilizing 100 percent whole grain foods like oatmeal.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.