In the News: Japan

Japanese earthquake and tsunamiThe earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on Friday, March 11 has also led to a crisis with several nuclear reactors in that country.

The news has been full of videos, first-person accounts, and statistics about the situation and children are understandably upset and concerned.

One of the best things parents can do in these circumstances is to turn the TV off. Repeatedly watching the same footage can give children the impression that an event is happening over and over again.

At the same time, it is important to talk to children about what they have seen and heard. They may have questions about what is going on – and whether or not it will affect them, their family, and their friends.

Try to reassure your child that you are prepared for an emergency should it arise close to home. Involve your child in a discussion of what you would do in an emergency. Go over your family plan in cases of an emergency such as a fire, flood, or storm. If you don’t have a family plan, consider creating one.

Enlist their ideas about things you can do to feel more secure. They may suggest storing fresh water and non-perishable food items for your family in case of an emergency.

Talk about ways your family can help the victims of these disasters in Japan. You may want to donate money through the Red Cross or another relief organization. You may have friends or family with connections to Japan who can offer other suggestions. It may help your children to pray for the Japanese people in these difficult times.

It’s understandable to want to shield our children from the sad things in life. But if we talk to them and help them find ways to cope with how they feel we’re actually helping our children become more resilient – and therefore better able to cope with the challenges that life often presents.


Filed under Learn

5 responses to “In the News: Japan

  1. That’s a great point about it seeming to be happening repeatedly to children watching. Like time stops and the same horrible thing just doesn’t ever go away. I think knowing that it’s over and they’re fixing things now is an important point to make clear, ie that all difficult things End and then you move on, you’re not stuck in it forever. Thank you!

    • Kathryn Coulibaly

      I remember experts talking about that after Sept. 11 and it really stuck with me that kids can’t differentiate between what’s already happened and what’s happening now in the media. The other suggestions are to help give kids a sense of confidence and control that we all need to believe we have. I hope it helps.

      • Great points. I definitely feel that if they think they live in a world beyond their control it will be very hard to feel confident about making a difference in their own lives. And watching the replaying of the event over and over makes for a pretty scary world view! Thank you very much for posting.

  2. Thank you so much for a thoughtful and extremely helpful post. Many parents are at a loss to know what to say or do when things like this happen…and children are left helpless and vulnerable. So much better to talk about it and offer reassurance…knowledge is power, even for young children.
    You visited my blog today ( and so I came to see yours…you are an amazing person…I read your “about” page! I’m subscribing to your posts now…I know I can learn alot from you…and can pass it along to the parents and children I work with.

    • Kathryn Coulibaly

      @Vivian – Thank you so much for this lovely note. I really enjoyed your blog, too, and I’m happy we’ll be able to share ideas.

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