Educating children about disaster preparedness is something not to be taken lightly. Preparing your child for disasters like tornadoes, floods, and fires could one day save their life, a task which many parents may find to be a little daunting. As a family who has been in the public insurance adjuster business for several decades, we have made disaster preparedness a part of our family’s everyday lives, and can provide some helpful advice when it comes to preparing yours.
How early should I teach my children about preparing for a disaster?
Disaster education should begin as soon as you choose. Even at a very young age, children are able to absorb massive amounts of information. By making disaster preparedness a part of your lifestyle, your children will more easily absorb the vital information they need to be ready. As you incorporate preparedness into your family’s lifestyle, the steps you take to stay safe and be prepared will become habitual; habits which your children will pick up.
What can I do to help them understand?
Teach them in ways that make sense to them. Use pictures and sounds. Tell it like a bedtime story. If your child can become familiar with the sights and sounds of a disaster before one occurs, the event will be less traumatic for them when they experience one. There are numerous books available to teach your children about disasters with colorful illustrations, which can help your kids associate disasters with something familiar. Remembering that their friend in their favorite book was able to get through a tornado will help them get through one too. Some great books include: The Flood That Came to Grandma’s House by Linda P. Stallone, All-of-a-Sudden Susan by E. Coatswort, and About Disasters by J. Berr. Here is a more comprehensive list of kid-friendly books on disasters.
How can I get them involved?
Have your child help you to prepare. Ask them for ideas. Ask questions like, “Where do you think would be a good place for our family to meet up in case there is a fire?” and “What do you think we should include in our disaster kit in case there is an emergency?” Talk through different scenarios with your child and get their input. They not only will feel like an important part of the process, but it will also help them think through possible situations so that you can help guide their thinking toward good solutions.