Children are part and parcel of prepping at the family level. And where necessary, at the level of the day care. We all pray that children need never experience privation or be harmed. Yet life sometimes happens to them too. How can we minimize the harm to the child in the event, and help them integrate the frightening experiences in a healthy way to learn valuable life lessons?
"The wind howls through the empty blocks looking for a home
I run through the empty stone because I'm all alone"
London's Burning, The Clash
Child Emotional Stress:
Children can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder too. But good early care, coupled with healthy reassurance can greatly reduce the likelihood of this developing. Here are some useful links to learn more:
Link to the American Red Cross page about their Facing Fear... series of books that deal with helping children cope with the stresses of terrorism, natural disasters, and the "24 hour news cycle".
As of today, the link to download the lesson plans does not work, nor the link to the Red Cross online store. But the book is available at your local Red Cross. Donate generously so the Red Cross can complete their website redesign.
This is a link to a very useful website from Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. This site has a short quiz for the parents, and the child, to fill out re: stress reactions post-injury that gives helpful, positive advice on how to further help the injured child.
The link: Find ways to help your child recover provides excellent advice on basic, immediate crisis intervention for the child and best communication practices with the child in the hard times. Also covers dealing with new fears in the child, a significant factor in development of longer term problems if not dealt with. Good section on self care for you, the parent. Common sense section, with resource links, for when to seek outside professional help for the child or you.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers free, online courses in child disaster trauma , grief, sexual abuse, provision of services, complex trauma, etc. Requires free registration but the courses seem worth it. The Terrorism, Disaster, and Speaker series seems most onpoint for the general prepper parent or day care provider.
Day Care and Disasters:
Nice link from Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association about rating your child's daycare for disaster readiness as well as resources for better preparing your family for life disruptions.
Learning Prepper Skills, For Kids:
FEMA has a great website for kids that will teach them valuable skills in how to prepare and how to cope with uncertain times.
A family of mountain lions, and their hummingbird friend, guide your kids through various fun family activities around disaster prepping. Kids learn about the types of natural disasters, and how to best survive them. They learn how to make a communication plan and how to make up a disaster kit. Site also has very good links for teachers and parents to learn more, especially about post-disaster coping skills. Good resources on this page for the teacher or school principal.
The City of Vancouver, BC has a site that guides parents in how to teach children disaster survival skills, in how to prepare the family home for disasters, and how best to return to the home post-disaster.
Children, the next generation, the future citizens. Get them involved in prepping now so that they can pass on the skills of self reliance and can-do attitude to their kids in turn.