Children experience trauma and fear during a natural disaster. If they know what to do because thay have practical family disaster drills, they should be more calm. When parents are calm, children calm down more quickly.
Before a disaster, parents can prepare children by
- Developing and practicing a family disaster plan.
- Teaching children how to recognize danger signals.
- Explaining how to call for help (9-1-1).
- Helping children memorize important family information.
- Including children's toys and special foods in a 72-hour Kit.
After a disaster, children are afraid the disaster will happen again, someone will be hurt or killed, and they will be separated from family and left alone. Parents can help minimize their children's fears by
- Keeping the family together and not leaving children with relatives or friends (take your children with you).
- Calmly and firmly explaining the situation and your plans.
- Talking to your children at eye level.
- Encouraging children to talk about the disaster and ask questions.
- Including children in recovery activities by giving them chores that will help them feel they are helping things get back to normal.
- Reassuring children with firmness and love.
- Sympathizing with a resolving their anxieties.
- Holding your children and spending more time with them.