Thursday, July 07, 2005

Simple Tips to Keep Children Calm during an Emergency

1. Whether a stuffed animal or a “blankie”, make sure to have their favorite security item readily available to take along.

2. Make sure you give children information about the situation that is age appropriate.

3. If old enough, let them help you prepare. Children as young as 4 are capable of gathering some of their own personal items to take along such as books, crayons or extra clothes.

4. Practice drills several times per year and make sure to explain that it’s because we want them to be safe. For example, if you live in an earthquake zone, make sure children know what to do. For tornados and severe storms, explain that there will be sirens and what they mean.

5. If you have a pet(s), make sure your child will know that “Fido” or “Fluffy” will be safe in the event you have to evacuate and can’t take your pet with you. Young children can become very emotionally attached to their pets and need to know that they will be safe.

6. During an event such as preparing for a hurricane, there may be terminology on the radio or television that children may not understand. Be prepared for lots of questions and explain things to them in terms that they can understand.

7. Encourage children to talk. Younger children may not know quite how to express their fears and feelings verbally, so it is extremely important for adults to listen attentively.

8. Try to remain as calm as possible yourself. Children are very in tune with their parents’ emotions and they can tell whether they are scared or not.

9. Most of all; make sure to give lots of hugs and verbal reassurance.

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