TAMPA, Florida - All the rubble, the frantic search for survivors, and the stories of children both killed and saved at school is riveting television, but it can also be troubling to children.
Even though these images are from Oklahoma, a thousand miles away, experts say it's not unusual for disasters elsewhere to hit home with children here in Tampa Bay. Danielle Mercuri, a trauma counselor at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay says she has seen children worried about disasters from earthquakes to tsunamis.
"They're very concerned about it, they're losing sleep, they're not doing well," she says.
Depending on the age of the child, Mercuri suggests limiting exposure to disaster media coverage. However, she says don't ignore it completely, and answer questions.
Mercuri also says creating your own storm plan can help alleviate your child's fears. "Just having a plan creates a built-in sense of safety, so that -- okay, this could happen, but I don't need to be terrified because we have a plan."
10 News caught up with Kenyaa Rose at the Temple Terrace Library. She'd seen news stories about the tornado. "I think it's very sad that it happened, because I heard many lives were lost," says the 5th grader.
But Kenyaa also just completed a report about tornadoes and she isn't losing sleep. "There has not really been a lot of tornadoes here in Florida, but there still is a possible chance, because you can't exactly predict when a tornado will hit," she says.
Kenyaa's grandfather, Armand Bowen, says they watch the news together and try to make it a learning experience. "You can't block all of it," he says. "The more they know, the less concerned they are about the bogeyman."
If your child seems overly distressed by the disaster, don't hesistate to seek the help of an expert. It may take just a few counseling sessions to help them get over it.