Do you have questions about how to talk to your children about Superstorm Sandy? Here & Now has complied a list of resources for talking to and supporting kids after the storm. Do you have other suggestions or stories? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.
For example, Angela Wang, who writes a local parenting column in Boston, says her bedtime reading with her children now includes Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter,” based on the winter of 1880-1881, when Wilder’s family weathered seven months of blizzards. She writes, “with the distance of geography and time, the century-old challenges of these Midwestern pioneers are enlightening without being too scary for my 21st century crew.”
Resources For Talking To Kids About The Storm
Sesame Street: Hurricane Kit. This “tool kit” for parents and caregivers in case of a natural disaster includes four Sesame Street videos for kids to watch (see Part 1 above). It also has 10 tips for parents and caregivers, including encouraging kids to share their feelings with words or pictures, and watching out for signs of stress, such as nightmares, bed-wetting and aggression. Sesame Street also has a PDF guide called “Here for Each Other” to help families after an emergency.
FEMA: Keeping Children Safe in Sandy’s Wake. Written by a medical doctor, this guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency includes tips on how to keep children safe in storm-affected areas, as well as a section called “Addressing the Emotional Impacts from Sandy.” (Recommended by @hellolittleone on Twitter.)
The Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About Hurricane Sandy. The website includes a number of tips, and says “Be calm, factual and supportive. And turn off the TV.”
Teaching Strategies: Helping Young Children Rebound After a Natural Disaster. This website has a number of resources for talking to kids about hurricanes Katrina and Rita – but they’re just as relevant for Sandy. It includes PDF guides for infant and toddler teachers, as well as preschool teachers. (Recommended by Rachel Altmann of Portland, Oreg.)
The Red Cross: Children and Their Response to Disaster. The website has tips for reducing fear and trauma in children. For example: “When you’re sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s uppermost in his or her mind. Having children participate in the family’s recovery activities will help them feel that their life will soon return to ‘normal.’ Your response during this time may have a lasting impact.” (Recommended by Caren Bedsworth of Nevada.)