For parents and caretakers, thinking about natural disasters or other emergency situations can be unsettling. It’s no surprise, then, that explaining those topics to a child may be far more difficult.
How can you make sure that your child is informed without making him or her feel afraid?
Prioritizing emergency preparedness helps ensure that everyone in your family will be calm and prepared if disaster strikes. That process begins with shared discussion and safety-related activities.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Get ready with “prep steps”: We teamed up with our national partner Save the Children to share three family-friendly “prep steps” that help families tackle emergency preparedness:
- Know your emergency contacts.
- Create a family emergency plan.
- Pack a disaster supply kit.
- Read together: Books that teach young readers about disasters can help your child learn how to respond to and cope with emergency situations. Good titles include “Clifford and the Big Storm” by Norman Bridwell and “Rhinos Who Rescue” by Julie Mammano.
- Teach safety skills in fun ways: Engage your little ones in age-appropriate safety activities and lessons, such as using a play phone to practice dialing 911; singing songs about firefighters, police officers and nurses; and learning how to stop, look and listen when you’re outside near roads and intersections. You can even perform a “prep steps” dance together.
- Learn how to talk to your child about tragedy: When speaking to young children about emergencies, it’s important to be honest without oversharing details that create fear. Use simple, age-appropriate language to help your child feel safe and protected throughout the conversation.
Encouraging your family members to learn about the importance of safety and being ready for emergencies could save their lives. To learn more about making a family disaster preparedness plan, visit Save the Children.
For other ways to prepare: