Here’s how to keep your children calm, cool and collected during a crisis.
A true emergency can be an absolute nightmare as a parent. The truth is, we never want to be thrown into a situation where tensions are high and something has gone completely wrong. However, it is much better to be prepared for these unpleasant situations rather than to be blindsided by them.
Preparing for potential emergencies means making sure that you and your family members are all on the same page, especially your children.
Below are 4 simple strategies for teaching kids how to deal with crises in a calm and collected manner.
1. Memorize important phone numbers
In this day and age, where cell phones and smartphones are in nearly every hand, it’s tempting to save all the numbers we need and forget about them. In an emergency, though, it’s important to remember you might not have access to your cell phone in particular. Even if your child does have a personal cell phone, it is important to help them memorize crucial phone numbers in the event they might need to know them.
The first number they should commit to memory is an emergency number like 911. Be sure to make a point to teach them what constitutes a “real emergency” so you don’t have any unnecessary calls to your local emergency services.
While the idea of a “home phone” has become a little outdated, all children should know how to contact their parents or guardian. Teaching your child your own cell phone number and a secondary number, such as a trusted family member or family friend, as a backup is key. Laminate a “cheat sheet” of important numbers to keep somewhere they can constantly access, such as a wallet or school book bag.
2. Practice makes perfect
Yes, we want our children to be prepared. What we don’t want, however, is to terrify them or cause them to fear the worst in the name of safety precautions. Take time to gauge what responsibilities your child can handle without panicking and gently reassure them that the family is practicing in case something were to happen,so they don’t get overwhelmed.
Information overload should be avoided with young children. Although having a plan of action in place is important, your plan may vary in intricacy depending on your child’s age. A 14-year-old, for instance, might be able to handle a multi-step plan, whereas a 6-year-old may process better small, simple steps.
For young kids, it is important to stress that you are simply practicing to learn and be prepared if danger were to occur. With proper communication and a solid plan, you will all be ready to make it through the situation together.
3. Make an emergency kit
One item that should be easily accessible at all times in a household or with a family member is a trusty emergency kit. Usually, these are filled with the things one might need if they are stuck somewhere until help arrives – first aid supplies, non-perishable food, and water bottles are a few of the basics.
To prepare your child for an emergency, let them take part in making the kit. This way, they will know where it is, what’s in it, and why the supplies used in it are used.
Here are some must-have items for all emergency kits: first aid kit container, water and food supply (non-perishable food), essential personal hygiene products, flashlights with extra batteries, paper towels, a charged cell phone, and bandages and wipes.
4. Create a master plan
A master emergency plan can have many parts, some of which kids will not need to complete themselves. Still, the most important element of handling an emergency with ease is communication, and children should also be made aware of all steps in the plan. After all, the more information children are given over time, the more comfort they will feel in realizing that their family is indeed ready to handle potential emergencies.
Making a safety plan is especially beneficial in dangerous situations and it should always focus on teaching kids how to get help and what to do if and when an accident occurs. Although naturally the best way to protect children is to teach them to stay away from the potentially dangerous situations, the steps of the safety plan should be well-practiced regardless.
Teaching kids about natural hazards like earthquakes, tornadoes, ice storms and hurricanes will help them recognize signs of each situation and know what to do when nature reveals its dark side. Emergency preparedness for children is also especially important in the case of a home fire, as it’s one of the most common emergencies. In the event of a health emergency, a child that can actively call for help can be truly life-saving.
When an emergency strikes, children are typically more vulnerable than adults, but educating children on how to handle emergencies effectively can level the playing field. Using these helpful strategies to prepare your children for disasters can keep them calm, confident, and most importantly, safe.