Many people struggle when they try to decide how to introduce their kids to planning, especially for the more serious levels. On one side, if they know what is going on, then they can cooperate accordingly. On the other side, it can be scary to think about situations that could change their life forever. Most sources agree that it is very important to share and explain key details to your children. Knowing the plan can help them to better follow instructions and reduce their stress in the moment. In addition, in the event that you are not present or are injured, it will give them steps to follow to seek aid, escape the danger, or implement other important plan steps.
It is important to make a plan for everyone in your house for multiple types of disasters. Sit down and discuss the plans for these disasters and allow children to assist with preparations where they can. Ensure that younger children have an “emergency kit” aimed more at reducing their fear than simply carrying survival supplies. A stuffed animal, book, or blanket may make all the difference to them. This will also give them a sense of responsibility for the planning and their own items. Reiterate the plan frequently, especially with younger children. You can do this by discussing current news stories and how they would need to respond in those scenarios. Also post copies of plans for emergencies like a house fire, flood, or medical emergency in a easily accessible spot. This will give kids access to important meeting location information and emergency numbers.
The U. S. Centers for Disease Control feels so strongly about informing kids that it has developed a “Ready Wrigley” line of books that help to teach kids about dangers ranging from mosquito bites to hurricanes. These include information to help kids be part of your family emergency planning.
The CDC also provides advice and some downloadable forms at their “Make a Plan” page. These forms are a good way to not only record the plan, but important family member information.
The American Red Cross also has advice and planning tools to help you prepare your children for a wide range of emergencies and their aftermath.
Overall, for most children, you will find that being upfront and honest with them about what might happen will generate the reaction you need. This will allow them to help if they can in bad situations or at least stay calm and follow directions. It is one more step you can follow to get to the end result of the survival of your family.