One of our roles as parents and guardians is to train our kids to know what to do in an emergency. But how do we talk about worst-case scenarios with our kids without scaring them? Here are some tips to help you prepare your kids for an emergency in a tactful way.
Practice What to Do in Case of an Emergency
Running practice scenarios and reviewing “what to do if…” can be really helpful for kids. Make sure your kids know “stop, drop, and roll” in case of a fire, nearest exits in hotels, and what they should do if they get lost in public. Additionally, you can run tornado drills and collect emergency supplies for your storm shelter, car, etc. Anything you practice in advance can go on to make emergencies less frightening later.
Don’t Instill Unnecessary Fear
While it’s good to discuss with your child the importance of quickness and doing exactly as they are told in an emergency, it’s not good to sensationalize these things. You want to teach your kids to stay calm and think clearly when a crisis hits, so be on the lookout if your preparations seem to be making them fearful vs. cautious.
Read Educational Content Together
Most kids are naturally afraid of things like tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes, so it can be helpful to read books that talk about scary things. For example, meteorologist James Spann put out a book about two animal friends preparing for a tornado titled Benny and Chipper: Prepared Not Scared. Books like this educate instead of scare kids. As they learn more about the things they are afraid of and learn there are ways to stay safe, they can become less afraid.