Disasters can happen any time. One moment you’re enjoying a quiet time with your family, the next, you’re scrambling to protect them at all cost. This becomes doubly hard when you have kids.
Considering the horror of calamities, it’s important to know that despite the uncertainty, you, as parents, have plenty of ways to soften its impact on children, so to speak. With that, we’ve interviewed several experts from different fields of study to know how you can protect your kids during and prepare them for unforeseen events.
Be Open To Your Kids
Parents shouldn’t avoid talking to kids about calamities, by pretending that they don’t realize that these dangers exist. Parents don’t want to worry their children, but not talking about the situation only makes it worse. Kids get the message that they shouldn’t ask questions, so they hold their feelings inside—which then turn into more serious psychological problems. Parents need to help kids express their feelings in words, pictures, or play, as well as build their resilience.
– Carole Lieberman, M.D. ( Psychiatrist, Parenting Expert, and Bestselling Author of “Lions and Tigers and Terrorists, Oh My! How to Protect Your Children in a Time of Terror”)
Stay Calm And Be Informed
This pandemic has led to a crisis in many homes, especially because parents forced to stay home, and work remotely, are also dealing with childcare. For many months, schools around us were closed leading to an abnormal schedule for my daughter and difficulty for both my wife and I to juggle work with taking care of her.
One of the things that we’ve tried to do through this pandemic though is not to panic and treat information coming out about the coronavirus rationally. Children tend to mimic their parent’s fears and so far, with our daughter, we decided to arm her with information.
We looked at the stats and the science for this virus in our area and discussed it not as it was something to be feared, but something that was interesting and necessary to understand. I think this took both of our fears away and, even if just psychologically, gave us a measure of control about the situation.
Of course, we could still get the disease, but looking at it as something of interest that we need to be cautionary around helped us to realize that we don’t need to fear. We just enjoy each other and the moments that we have today, not expecting or worrying about the possibility of infection but not thinking everything is entirely fine either.
– Ottomatias Peura (CEO, Speechly.com)
Set Up Proper Legal Documentation
In the event of an emergency, many parents assume that certain actions will be taken to ensure the safety of their child. Unfortunately, without proper legal documentation, parents’ wishes as to who will care for their child may not happen. This also opens the possibility for a child to fall into the hands of protective custody or become tangled in family disputes.
A few short legal documents can make an immense difference in the care and safety of a child in the event of a disaster or family emergency. All parents should name and legally document permanent and temporary guardians for their children. These documents are essential to keep children safe and out of protective custody if their family is not immediately available.
Every parent should also provide a child’s caregiver with a Healthcare Power of Attorney for Minors. This document gives another person the authority to seek medical care for your child if you can’t be reached. These three documents provide clear instructions of your wishes and can mean the difference between a smooth transition of care for your child and immense distress.
– Stefanie Trinkl (Trinkl Estate Planning, S.C.)
Assign A “Safe Shelter”
Turn a particular room into a “safe shelter.” Be sure to use criteria from FEMA, or, if you aren’t willing to invest that much time and money, choose a small and windowless room on the ground floor to shelter in case of a natural disaster. If your home has any structural issues, it could collapse during any earthquake, so make sure that it passes inspection when it comes to its basic structure. As for your furniture, it’s important to secure heavy objects to the wall, and make sure to put the heaviest and most fragile objects on your lowest shelves.
– Aliza Vigderman (Journalist and Content Manager, Centerfield)