Here in Florida, we go through natural disasters called hurricanes. One year, we re-started school FOUR times due to a particularly bad season with back-to-back-to-back-to-back windstorms. How can we help students cope?
According to the American Red Cross:
- Talk to the children and listen to their concerns. They are afraid.
- Provide facts appropriate for the age of the child. There is no reason to go into great detail, children need and will accept simple responses.
- Discuss the family disaster plan. If you don’t have one, create a plan and supplies kit.
- Involve children in helping to restore normal day to day activities.
- Discuss and possibly plan how the child can help others affected by the disaster.
- Turn the television OFF.
Re-starting school four times in one year took its toll on our community. Each new approaching hurricane caused greater panic than the one prior. The community is on a barrier island, meaning that evacuation is mandatory. Everyone was forced to leave for shelters, friends, or any place to wait out the storm. It is traumatic, it is difficult, we must help each other through.
This booklet “Helping Children Cope with Disaster,” available for download from the American Red Cross in conjunction with FEMA may be useful for everyone. Ready.gov provides a nice guide to Helping Children Cope.
These books may come in handy:
- River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz
- Where the River Begins by Thomas Locker
- The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia
- The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
- Floods and Blizzards
Be safe my friends!