Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Earthquake Tsunami - Horrifying but can it be educational?

As I poured through the images and videos posted about the current Japan Earthquake/Tsunami disaster and hear about personal accounts from friends in Japan, I couldn't help but wonder if my child was old enough, would I share these stories and accounts with him or would I shield him from the horrors of such a disaster? I think I would want my child to know that these disasters happen. At the same time, I would want him to know that he doesn't have to be afraid. I thought a bout a list of things I could do to make the best of such a situation.

My List of Disaster Education for children:

1. Pull up a map. Show your child where the disaster had occurred and show them where they are in respect to the disaster. This can help assure the child that he/she is safe.

2. Gather your family for an emergency checklist session. Go through what needs to be done should something like this happen. Your children should understand your family's emergency plan as best as they can. This way if you happen to be separated during the course of such an event, your child will not be scared. Instead, they will be comforted because they have the knowledge of what to do.

3. Have your children memorize emergency numbers and your cell phone numbers. Teach them how to use a pay-phone. You'll be surprised to learn that many children don't even know what a pay phone is nowadays. Have them learn your full names (as well as their own of course!) and important addresses.

4. Agree on a Family Emergency Meeting venue should any of you be separated. Show your kids where that venue is and how to get there from places they would usually be at, such as from home, from school, from the playground, from grandma's, etc...)

5. Start an emergency kit or backpack for each member of your family. Have your kids help you put together the backpack. Show them how to use the items in the backpack!

6. If your kids are old enough, learn how to do CPR as a family. The American Red Cross provides CPR classes. Contact your local chapter for more information. Do note that usually only teenagers and up will be effective in doing CPR because strength is needed. However, it is always good for younger children to learn about CPR as well. Here are some fun tips!

7. It's a great time to learn about nature and science. Teach your kids how and why such disasters occur. When kids understand how it happens, they are less afraid. FEMA has an awesome website to teach kids about natural disasters!

8. If you have the resources to do so, have your family engage in a charity that helps people affected by these disasters. Even having your kids do extra projects, have their own lemonade stands, mow grasses, and chores to earn $10-$20 to donate to a charity is sufficient. It's a great feeling when a child feels like he/she has contributed to something as big as a full scale natural disaster.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, please feel free to share them. I would love to hear them all!!!

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