How to help friends and family
Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. They are frightening for adults and can be traumatic for children, especially if they do not know what to do.
Include your children in your process of preparing for an emergency. Not only will they learn what the family’s plans are, but they will also gain a sense of confidence from taking part in this important task. Planning with your children will reduce their fear, anxiety and confusion during a disaster.
Children’s Response to Disaster
Children depend on daily routines. They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends. When emergencies or disasters interrupt this routine, many children may become anxious. Children’s fears may arise from actual risks or from their imagination, and you should take both seriously.
In a disaster, children will look to adults for help. How you react to an emergency gives them clues about how to act. Feelings of fear are healthy and natural for both adults and children, but as an adult, you need to manage the situation. Your words and actions can provide reassurance.
When you are sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking them what is causing them concern. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable.
Help your children prepare for an emergency by teaching them when and how to call 911.