No one wants to think about a natural disaster happening. Unfortunately, natural disasters do happen and typically happen at a time that no one expects. Parents can help children feel less uncertain about natural disasters if they talk to their children about possible disasters and then walk the children through a natural disaster emergency plan.
Talking to Your Children about Natural Disasters without Scaring Them
Parents need to walk a fine line when talking to their children about natural disasters. You want your children to be informed about possible disasters and to understand what to do. At the same time, you don’t want your children to be so scared of an earthquake, for example, that they are nervous about going to sleep.
It is good for parents to listen to their children and find out what the child already knows about natural disasters in the area. Let them feel free to express how they feel without fear of reprisal.
Next, parents should be honest with their children. In an age-appropriate way, explain to them why certain natural disasters happen. If you don’t know some of the ins and outs of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., a simple Google research can help find the answers.
Parents can make a discussion about natural disasters a learning experience. Don’t just focus on the negative aspects of the disaster. Use your children’s natural curiosity beneficially. Educate them using books, cartoons, movies, and other tools. Empower your children. Get them involved in the family’s emergency preparations.
Prepare a Family Disaster Kit
In your home, you may have the basic supplies needed for a disaster kit. However, when disasters are happening, you may not have the opportunity or the presence of mind to get them together. A disaster kit lets you get everything you need together ahead of time. You can put all these items in a backpack and place it close to an exit.
Here are some of the items you can include:
- A chlorine dioxide water purification kit
- Two gallons of water per person per day
- Batteries, chargers, and flashlights
- Spare clothing and blankets
- Pet supplies
- Hand sanitizer
- First-aid kits
Preparing an emergency kit can be a family affair. You can make a game out of it by turning it into a scavenger hunt.
Have your kids work with you to review the expiration date on each item. Hopefully, your emergency prep will never be more than just a fun game. However, you will be thankful that you took the time to prepare an emergency kit if a disaster strikes.
Other Things to Consider Before an Emergency
Emergency phone numbers should be posted in a central place. This includes the phone numbers for the police, poison control, and relatives who live nearby. You may have these numbers stored on your cell phone, but cell phone service may fail during a natural disaster. It is good to jot down some numbers on a piece of paper and stick them in your emergency kit.
You should discuss with your children the quickest and safest escape route from different parts of the home. It may be faster to jump out of a first-story window than it would be to try to access the front or rear door to the house. Make sure each member of your family knows the ideal escape route from each room in the home. Practice the plan so that your children learn how to escape quickly.
Select emergency meeting spots with your family. You should choose a place near your home, a location outside of your neighborhood, and an area outside of town just in case the emergency requires you to evacuate from your town.
If you have pets, be sure to include them in your emergency plan. You should have sufficient pet carriers, food, and water on hand to take with you during an emergency.
Finally, you want to think about the essential documents your family may need and make a copy of them. This includes having a copy of your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, birth certificate, vaccination records, and the titles for your home and car.
Natural disasters can happen at any time. Protect your family by preparing them in advance to know what to do, where to go, and what to bring when a disaster strikes.