3 Ways Parents Can Better Prepare Kids for Emergency
Advocacy Surveys show that most U.S. parents are concerned about risks that disaster can pose to their children. And yet, only 35 percent have a solid emergency plan in place.
One of the reasons parents don’t do more to prepare their families is that they fear the very act of discussing emergencies could scare or harm their children.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, parents should discuss risks in age-appropriate ways. But research and experience show that when children know that their parents are taking action to keep them safe—and when they feel part of the process—they don’t feel threatened by the conversation. They feel safer.
Furthermore, when children practice plans before disaster strikes, they are less likely to panic in the event of an actual disaster. They’re more equipped to follow directions and to know to look to adults to lead them out of harm’s way.
That’s why it’s so important for parents and other caregivers to be prepared themselves.
Yet, as we’ve already established, adults are way behind where they need to be. The government and others have tried to inspire family preparedness for years. But this needle is very slow to move.
So what can we do to change this?
“The government and others have tried to inspire family preparedness for years. But this needle is very slow to move.”
This National Preparedness Month, preparedness advocates around the country are coming together behind a common cause that could finally tip the balance. More than 60 organizations affirming the National Strategy on Youth Preparedness Education have joined forces to bet on children as the ultimate change-makers.
After all who but children have more influence with that tough audience—parents—that we’re all trying to reach?
By the end of this month, these organizations will have led tens of thousands of children around the country in dancing “The Prep Step,” a catchy song that introduces preparedness messages in a fun and accessible way.
The hope is that kids won’t just remember the prep steps, but they’ll go home and ask their parents to complete them. But please, parents, don’t feel you need to wait until your children call you out for being unprepared.
Take the three most important prep steps for families now. They are:
1. Teach ICE
Make sure kids know their “ICE” or In-Case-of-Emergency contacts. Make an ICE contact card for each child’s school bag or wallet. One of the three contacts should be out-of-state, in case local communications are down.
2. Work together
Create a family emergency plan and practice it together.
3. Gather supplies
Keep your family safe and nourished in case of an emergency. These should include a go-bag for each child with hygiene items, medicines, favorite activities and a comfort item.