Tag Archives: tsunami

Talking to Kids About Japan

kids watching TVIt’s been just over a month since a devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis first rocked Japan.

Since that time:

  • More than 188,000 people continue to be displaced;
  • More than 125,000 blankets; 183,000 items of clothing; 26,000 relief kits and 11,000 sleeping kits have been handed out to survivors staying in Red Cross evacuation centers.
  • Several aftershocks as well as significant tremors have struck;
  • Scientists, workers, and government officials continue to deal with a nuclear crisis that is now judged to be equal to the Chernobyl disaster;
  • Millions of dollars – including donations from schoolchildren around the world – have been pledged by individuals and organizations to help the people of Japan deal with the crisis;
  • The American Red Cross has collected more than $158 million for Japan relief. The Japanese Red Cross has collected more than $800 million and is beginning to disburse some of those funds to affected people this week; and
  • The first 36 of 70,000 temporary homes were presented to displaced families in Iwata prefecture.

Because there is still so much bad news mingling with the good work people are doing to help the victims of the multiple disasters in Japan, it can be difficult for children to cope with the situation.

Even thousands of miles away, children can be profoundly affected by the news.

Because this crisis is ongoing, it can be even more difficult for children to deal with how they are feeling.

Download KidCulture’s free PDF, Tips for Talking to Children About Global Crises, to help you talk with children about the crisis in Japan and identify strategies to help them feel more secure.

Keep in mind that one of the best ways to help children deal with bad news and scary situations is to give them something over which they have control.

Whether it’s holding a bake sale, lemonade stand, or yard sale with the intention of donating the proceeds to the Red Cross or another Japan relief organization, every child can make a difference. And that helps give them the confidence they’ll need to deal with crises when they get older.

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Filed under Asia

Cherry Blossom Festival Unites Japan, USA

DC cherry blossomsOn March 27, 1912, American First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, planted the first two Japanese cherry blossom trees near Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin.

Mrs. Taft was an excellent advocate for bringing the Japanese cherry trees to Washington. For three years, she lived with her husband and children in the Philippines while her husband served as the Governor-General of the Philippine islands. She was considered remarkable at the time because she welcomed the opportunity to learn about the language and culture of the Philippines and to befriend the Filipino people.

In addition, Mrs. Taft enjoyed traveling to Japan and China and she brought a respect and appreciation for other cultures to the White House when her husband was elected in 1908.

Ninety-nine years after the two ladies planted the first cherry blossom trees, visitors to Washington still enjoy them, as well as the 3,000 others that subsequently joined them.

This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is being conducted while the original givers of this beautiful gift – the people of Japan – are struggling with unbelievable challenges and tragedies.

More than two weeks after an earthquake and a tsunami changed life for people of Japan and set off a nuclear crisis in their country, many Americans are using the National Cherry Blossom Festival to reinvigorate American donations to help the people of Japan.

For more information about the history of the cherry trees in Washington, DC, check out the National Park Service’s website.

More information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 26-April 10, click here.

The American Red Cross is one of the best options for donating funds to help the people of Japan.



Filed under Asia, Learn

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