How to Help Kids Cope With the Surfside Condo Collapse

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Several children lived at the Champlain Towers South, including a teen who was rescued from the rubble moments after the collapse. 

The level of trauma can vary from person to person, but Dr. Danette Beitra, an adolescent psychologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, says kids involved in the tragedy should have an open line of communication with their parents and focus on the present. 

"Taking it day by day, so making sure that, you know what, 'today, I’m feeling really terrible and I need this right now,' and focusing on the here and now is probably one of the best things I’d recommend," said Dr. Beitra. 

Dr. Beitra says it’s common for children both directly and indirectly involved to start questioning if this will happen again. Those thoughts generate a lot of anxiety.

"We need to shift their mindset as parents where we’re focusing on the here and now. Worries we know don’t help, that’s really the truth especially in events like this which nobody really can control," said Dr. Beitra. 

An Aventura preschool is also helping the Champlain Tower families cope with the tragedy. Baby Stars at 3565 NE 207th Street is offering the children free summer camp. The camp is available for kids ages 18 months to 5 years old.

“For the children to be distracted and for the parents to be able to help their close families is very important, so at least the parents can have a few hours to be on their own to grieve and their children are going to be happy here," said Baby Stars founder Edith Peisach. 

The Baby Stars staff is also grieving, as one of their teachers has relatives who are still unaccounted for.

"For the people that wait every minute is a long time," said Peisach. 

The Baby Stars summer camp is available to the Champlain Tower families from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The preschool is flexible on dates and times they'd like to attend. 

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