It’s easy to forget the trauma our children also suffer during and after a flood so we need to understand and help them through the changes as best we can.

The impact of flooding on
children and families

They’ve lost their toys and clothing.

If you’re in temporary accommodation, then their surroundings will be unfamiliar. They’re not in the security of their own home with their usual things.

They’re living with parents who are constantly under strain.

Families sometimes choose to temporarily live separately after a flood, particularly if their first point of contact is to go and stay with grandparents or relatives to reinforce the child’s security and familiarity. If the relatives don’t have space for the whole family then sometimes they decide to divide themselves across two temporary homes. This is out of the ordinary for the child’s usual routine.

If you’re in alternative accommodation, journeys to school may be further. They may not be able to walk to school with their friends anymore.

Local neighbourhood friendships are affected because communities are dispersed for several months.

If the temporary accommodation isn’t nearby, then after school activities might have to be put on hold. The routine is disrupted.

Children might feel scared when they see rain.

I just want my home back, my daughter has suffered the most. Being in a damp old rented house has set her asthma off and she has been bad for months resulting in multiple steroid prescriptions plus four inhalers. She is 10.

– A mother’s perspective following the winter floods in Bury, 2015.


Tips for supporting children after a flood

Anything that your child has as a comforter or security blanket, should be with them.

Try to maintain some sort of routine if you can, or continue to do things that were familiar e.g. stories at bedtime.

Whilst there might be little time for family time and it may bring feelings of guilt, don’t worry that you can’t have the same time for children before the flood happened. You will be doing your best and perhaps decide to do an outing or spend some quality time together to make sure the precious time you do have together is special.

Bring friendships together where possible and when time allows. Even if it can’t be at home, you can always meet in the park, cinema or a fun place.

Children, Young People and Flooding: Recovery and Resilience

For more information and some direct insights into the impact of flooding on children please see the research by Lancaster University and Save the Children.

Every day for 4 or 5 days it was chucking it down which made all the devastating floods in Keswick.

It was really annoying because we were stuck on the hill. It was like a little island. It was really hard to get food because it was too dangerous to walk out into the water. If you’re wondering why we couldn’t use a car it’s because the current was so strong it could wash it away.

Behind our house there’s field and all the bunny rabbits and hares were hoping around, because not only people lose their homes you know!

– Pheobe, age 9