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.