Earthquake and Other Natural Disasters
I have received a ton of questions about Natural Disasters specifically earthquake preparedness and also how to explain this topic to young children.
First, try to refrain from having the television on in front of them. They are very impressionable, and even if you don’t think they are listening or watching, they are. They can sense if parents are feeling worried or scared. The most important thing is to let them know that they are safe and that there are people whose job it is to keep everyone safe, like firefighters and police officers. For younger children, I use the word helpers.
When they first ask what happened, ask them “what do you think happened?” In order to see where they are at and also not to dive too deep into the conversation. Keep it simple when answering questions. Let them know that it’s ok to feel sad and/or scared. They just need to know that they are going to be cared for by you.
Here’s an example of a dialogue:
What happened Mommy?
What do you think happened?
The house started shaking and it was scary.
Yes you’re right, the ground moved and it made our house shake. It was scary. There are lots of helpers to keep us safe. And your daddy and I are prepared and will keep you and your sisters and the dogs safe.
During this time kids may require more attention due to their fears so giving extra cuddles is important. Try to keep your daily rhythm and sleep routine as consistent as possible. Stability and familiarity are very important for children.
Here’s a list of items I like to have on hand:
Flashlights next to all beds
Fire extinguisher under a couple sinks
Shoes next to bed
2-3 gallons of water per person on hand
Whistle to signal for help
Water filter/purification tablets
Backpack for each person
Toiletries for each
Few rolls of Toilet paper
Change of clothes for each person including - roll clothes to take up less space, windbreaker and hats
Leather or vinyl Gloves
Mylar blankets and tent
Pad of paper
Snacks- nut/sunflower butter, bars, dried fruit, beans, canned food, granola bars, mama chia baby food pouches
First aid kits
Children’s Pain relievers and benedryl
Antibiotics for each person
Multi purpose Swiss army knife
Cash- small bills
Coins for vending machines
Copies of documents in fire safe box
Battery powered radio
Mini generator (to charge phones)
Solar powered charger
Portable phone chargers
Matches/lighters - windproof
Colored pencils, coloring books, sticker books
Store in plastic bin or better yet a rolling suit case in order to make it easier to transport. Backpacks for each person filled with toiletries, clothes, and other accessories.
Clothes (2 sizes up) - onesies, footed pants, long sleeves, socks (can double as mittens)
Have a meet point
Fill tub with water after a natural disaster if possible.
Keep gas 3/4 way full (gas stations require electricity)
Camping store- has portable pots/pans and portable stove
Rotate food and clothing items every 6-12 months