Prepare with Kids
Being prepared for disasters starts at home. Everyone can be part of helping to prepare for emergencies. Young children and teens alike can be a part of the process. As a parent, guardian, or other family member, you have an important role to play when it comes to protecting the children in your life and helping them be prepared in case disaster strikes.
What You Should Know About Youth Preparedness
- Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations
- Learn the building blocks of preparedness − Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved.
- Know the emergency plan for your child’s school and child care facility
- Practice evacuation plans and other emergency procedures with children on a regular basis
- Learn different ways to help children cope during and after an emergency
- Make sure children have emergency contacts memorized or written down in a secure place
- Teach kids when and how to call important phone numbers like 911
Helping Children Cope After a Disaster
Disasters can leave children and teens feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Their responses can be quite varied. It's important to not only recognize these reactions, but also help children cope with their emotions.
- Encourage dialogue and answer questions: Listen to your kids. Ask them about their feelings and validate their concerns. When they ask questions, give just the amount of information you feel your child needs.
- Limit media exposure: Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers as well. If your children watch TV or use the internet, try to be available to talk with them and answer questions.
- Make time for them and find support: Help kids understand that they are safe and secure by talking, playing, and doing other family activities with them. Build support networks with friends, family, and community organizations to help you cope, which can also help your children cope.
- Keep to a routine: Help your children feel as if they still have a sense of structure, which can make them feel more relaxed. When schools and childcare open again, help children return to normal activities like going to class, sports, and play groups.
- FEMA Resource Library For Families
- Talking to Children About Disasters (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event (SAMHSA)
- How to Help Children Cope with Disasters (Save the Children)
- Helping Children with Disabilities During an Emergency (CDC)