Listen to your child
Invite your child to share his/her actual fears. Those concerns might not be what you think they are. Concrete fears, such as “What will we do if the lights go out?” or “Where will I sleep?”, can be addressed directly. Having information and knowing expectations are very important, reassuring and empowering for children.
Affirm your child
Tell him/her that being concerned and even afraid are normal reactions. Those feelings allow us to prepare for upcoming events. You can share some of your own concerns, if appropriate given the age of the child.
Review any safety plans you have for your family
If you do not have a safety plan, now is the time to develop one. Then, practice – walk through – what will happen, where you will go (e.g., the hall closet), who will do what and how.
Involve your child in the emergency preparations
Even young children can be involved in gathering emergency supplies, preparing the house in case of a storm, etc. Taking action and participating with the family gives the child a sense of control-that he/she is working with the family to do what can be done.
Talk about how a community supports its members
Remind your child of how neighbors, the town and state, even people throughout the nation rallied to help each other after the last disaster. Knowing that others are there with support and assistance can be very reassuring to a child.