All parents hope to provide their children with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in life. Meanwhile, our children are listening, watching and absorbing everything you do – the good, the bad and the ugly! That’s why it’s so critical that parents model and encourage positive behaviors from the very start, especially in regards to safety.
Safety preparedness is one of the most overlooked topics when it comes to early education. Talking about safety can be scary for children, and as parents, we never want to disturb our child’s peace of mind. But safety preparedness is so important to your child’s well-being and helps children develop characteristics that empower them to make a positive difference in their communities.
Safety also can be a scary topic for adults, as many parents don’t feel prepared to handle an emergency themselves. A recent poll of parents conducted by Save the Children found that 40 percent of parents do not have an emergency plan and nearly half (49 percent) don’t feel prepared to protect their children during a disaster. This is even more reason to devote time to preparing your family and little ones in case of an emergency.
Building Character through Emergency Preparedness
Let’s prepare our little ones to be ready for whatever storm comes their way. You may not realize it, but you’re already teaching your child about safety every day – when you fasten his car seat, when you tell her not to touch the stove, when you warn him about strangers. Be sure to add preparing for emergencies to that list. By creating a family plan and conducting regular emergency drills, you can help your child develop character traits that will extend far beyond the realm of safety, including:
Cooperation: Planning for and responding to an emergency is often a team effort, requiring the whole family to cooperate, stay calm and follow the plan.
Responsibility: Help children pack go-kits filled with supplies they will need if the family needs to evacuate or shelter-in-place and have them practice retrieving it during drills.
Goodwill and Empathy: Encourage your child to write letters and express sympathy for those affected by a recent disaster. This will help your little one develop a sense of empathy for those in need.
Don’t stop there – show your little one what it means to stand up for something you believe in. You can advocate for the safety and protection of all children by sharing the disaster checklists with teachers, coaches and caregivers. Once you’ve prepared your family, help your neighbors prepare for disaster by organizing a Prep Rally in your community.
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