Despite your best intentions as a parent sometimes you just can’t shield your kids from an emergency. It could be a house fire, or a car accident, or a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado but at some point you and your kids are going to have an emergency. The best thing that you can to help make sure your child isn’t traumatized by the experience and doesn’t go into a panic is to use these tips from child behavior experts and other parents to help reassure your kids during an emergency and help them stay calm:
Keep Them Close
Your kids are going to want to be as close to you as possible because your presence will be comforting to them. So don’t leave your kids even when you need to go find out information or do other tasks. Take them with you and if possible hold their hands or pick them up and hold them. Being close to you will help them stay calm and feel like they are safe and protected.
Show Them The Space
If you need to stay an emergency shelter like a stadium or a school take them for a walk around the building and show them the whole building. That will help them develop a better sense of the space and where they are. When they have a sense of where they are and what the building is like they will feel calmer and more relaxed. Encourage them to ask questions and to talk about what is going on and how they feel about that.
Establish A Routine
Kids need routine. Routines make them feel safe and secure. So stick to their routine as much as possible. Try to put them to bed at the same time they normally go to bed. If you don’t have their favorite book with you try to tell them the story from memory or look it up on your phone and read it to them that way. Sing them the song you always sing to them before bed and sit with them until they fall asleep. Get them up at the same time they normally get up. Try to keep as much of their routine in place as you can. And if you can’t manage to keep any of their normal routine then establish a new one as quickly as possible. That routine is what kids depend on to feel secure.
Tell Them What Is Going On
Kids are smarter than you might realize and they definitely understand more than adults think they do. Tell them what is going on in an age-appropriate way so that they feel included and so that they have an understanding of the situation. Knowing what is going on and what is going to happen next will be a great comfort to kids in a disaster and can help them cope with the sudden loss of their home and their routine.