Recently the ceiling in our living room collapsed.

My kids were at one end of the room, playing a game with their dad. I was in the kitchen, trying (and failing) to sort out some jobs online. 

From nowhere, I heard an enormous explosion, followed by screaming. 

Part of the ceiling had come down but, very fortunately, it was all at the other end of the room to my family. Somehow the falling plaster landed neatly between smashable items, trashing only a half completed board game.

Why we should practice emotional first aid

Amazingly, no one was physically hurt, but if they had been, I would have jumped into first aid mode, washing wounds and applying ice packs. Maybe even heading to hospital or calling an ambulance if needed. 

We all know about physical first aid, even if we haven’t a clue how to actually perform CPR. So why don’t we tend to think about ‘emotional first aid’?

Life being what it is, we will all encounter challenges along the way that need a bit of emotional support. Just like we might plan for physical first aid, for scraped knees or a bumped head, by keeping supplies of antiseptic, band-aids and painkillers in the house, it’s also helpful to have a plan for supporting emotions when accidents happen. A plan for emotional first aid. 

Making a plan for emotional first aid

What follows is my current best understanding of how an emotional first aid plan came together for me, and how I used the Hand in Hand tools ideas to support my family’s emotions through our scary moment. Remember that every situation is unique; you are the specialist in your family, and you may choose to do things differently.  

Has your family been impacted by significant world events including natural disasters or senseless violence? This article from Hand in Hand Founder Patty Wipfler shares supportive ideas to heal and recover. Read