After a car accident, even an adult can feel uneasy about getting behind the wheel and driving soon thereafter. You might worry that what led to your last crash could happen again. It’s unlikely that these feelings have dissipated but instead are at the forefront of your mind.
As a parent, you should know that the same emotional mark that your crash has left on you might also affect your kids if they were unfortunate enough to have been in the car when the accident occurred — but you can take steps to help them along in the healing process.
Talk openly about what happened
One of the worst things you can do after an accident is to brush it “under the rug” without discussing it. You should speak openly with your child about why the crash occurred and reassure them that it isn’t something that is likely to happen again.
A car accident in which your child was in the vehicle when it happened presents a learning opportunity for you to teach your child a little more about life. You can teach them gratefulness by discussing how you’re both safe. You can also emphasize the importance of wearing a seatbelt — how it likely saved you from suffering far worse injuries.
Maintaining your routine is key
As hard as it might be for you to do this as a parent if you’re having to get your car fixed, see doctors or speak with insurance adjusters, you should do whatever you can to not break your routine.
If your child seems hesitant to get in the car, then entice them with a trip to a local store they like to visit or to see a close friend or relative they love. Have them bring some creature comforts along in the car that will help distract them from the ride. Do whatever it takes (within reason) to ensure that not too long elapses before they get in the car again.
You may want to discuss how to best handle any emotional turmoil that may arise following a crash with their pediatrician. You may find it helpful to bring in a trained professional counselor to help your child work through any lingering concerns that they’re having, as well.