Preschoolers and Natural Disasters
California and several other states have struggled with significant natural disasters during the last two months. Preschoolers can become very fearful when hearing about these disasters. A parents’ responsibility to preschoolers is to assure them that their parents are going to work towards keeping them safe and secure. Parents in the midst of disasters typically try to reassure their children and move them to safety. Ideally, parents can provide their children with daily routines that establish a secure and stable environment.
During and after disasters, parents can help their preschoolers learn how to support others less fortunate. Strategies parents can use to help their preschoolers give back to others include:
- Children can give their extra toys, clothes, and art supplies to a collection bin for survivors who have lost everything.
- Children can learn how to collect for a cause when trick or treating or as part of a Thanksgiving Drive.
- Preschoolers can attend a service day at a local school where students organize supplies for families who have lost basic needs.
- Preschoolers can meet families who have lost their homes by sharing a meal in their home or a picnic in the park with a new friend.
- If a family has an extra vacation home or space on their property, they can offer that home or space as a respite to a family in need.
- If a family lives between two houses, one house can be rented cheaply to a family who has lost their home.
- Your child’s preschool or church can sponsor a fundraising event to buy new backpacks filled with school supplies, craft projects, and gift cards for necessities that can be given to the school’s children who have lost their homes.
- Schools can highlight the culture of giving by organizing culturally sensitive assemblies with local agencies and churches. The preschoolers can participate by helping with the distribution of donated gifts to the school’s families in need.
- The children can create cards and write messages of appreciation and gratitude to families receiving gifts and the first responders.
- Preschoolers can increase their empathy for each other by teaching them how to help a child that has fallen off a swing or hurts himself while playing on the playground.