HAMPTON, Va. — Before Codi Bigsby disappeared, neighbors at the Buckroe Pointe Apartment Townhomes said young children in the neighborhood used to play outside often, Codi included.
“They play football in the big field in the middle,” said neighbor Tisha Hunt
They say ever since his father, Cory Bigsby, reported him missing last week, the neighborhood is quiet. Some neighbors said some children are now worried about their safety.
Michele Tryon, a parent educator and community outreach coordinator for CHKD, said that fear is common.
“They are going to look to trusted adults and that’s where the adults come in and really provide that reassurance,” Tryon said.
Tryon said there are things parents can do to ease their minds.
“If we could limit the amount of time they’re seeing something on TV or social media or hearing about it, that could be helpful," she said.
She said parents should continue their child’s daily routines.
“Things that are predictable for them," Tryon said. "Things that are reassuring to them. Things that make them feel safe.”
Tryon says talk to other adults about your concerns in private. Also, watch your child’s play themes.
“If they start playing where one of their dolls disappeared and they have to go searching for it or that type of thing, it’s their idea of what may be thinking,” she said.
She said most importantly, pay attention to any new behaviors.
“They might not tell you that ‘I’m scared’, but they might have separation anxiety like they don’t want to leave you," she said. "Or they might be acting out or maybe using baby talk or start sucking their thumb.”
She said by practicing these methods over time, those feelings of fear will start to subside.
CHKD offers free programs to help parents and children. They are holding a class Wednesday, February 16 on how parents can help children manage their emotions. More information on how to sign is available on their website.