Our job, as adults, is to create resilience in them so that no matter what life throws their way, they will have the ability to face the challenge and land on their feet.
There is nothing simple about raising children who are resilient to life’s challenges. It takes intentional hard work, consistency and creativity. The reward is worth every effort.
Steps to Create Disaster Resilient Children
- Empower kids with knowledge
- Develop a family emergency plan together, then practice it. Evaluate it together and discuss what went right and where you can improve, then physically practice it together again. Teach kids how to plan, execute, evaluate and improve.
- Play the “What If and What Then” game regularly. What if there was an earthquake right now? What would I do after the shaking stopped? Train children to play various scenarios out in their mind where they face a threat and are always successful in defeating the threat. This simple exercise trains their brain to spring into action during a real crisis.
- Have courage to face the tough scenarios. Model a realistic, but positive attitude. What if Mom and Dad were killed in the earthquake? Then I will go live with Aunt Suzie. I will miss them, but I will be okay.
- Teach children basic skills
- Teach children to enjoy hard work by regularly working together.
- Provide opportunities to develop self-reliance skills such as; self-defense, water disinfection, safe sanitation practices, map reading, expedient shelter construction, gardening, food preservation, cooking healthy foods from scratch and financial management.
- Model self-reliance and provident living in your everyday life.
- Teach children to serve others and sacrifice for the greater good. It is interesting to note that in concentration camps those who were selfless and showed love and served others had higher rates of survival.
- Nurture confidence
- Be your child’s biggest fan and truly believe that they have the power to succeed.
- Provide mastery experiences for kids. Give them opportunities to succeed at difficult tasks. For instance; climb with them to the peak of a mountain. When they are tired, cold and ready to give up, encourage them, but don’t let them quit. Future challenges in life are then compared to this mastery experience. I made it to the top of that mountain, surely I can … (name the challenge). I am bigger than any challenge. I can do this!
- Promote faith, not fear in your words and actions. Talk through doubts and fears. Acknowledge that it may be rough, but he/she can do hard things.
- Foster independence while nurturing a love for others and a desire to make the world a better place because they are in it.
- Celebrate successes and use failures only as learning opportunities.
- Limit Screen Time
- Video games and television should be kept to a minimum.
- Replace screen time with real life adventures.
- Encourage face to face interactions and limit texting as a primary form of family communication.
Disaster resilient kids are created through thoughtful and proactive parenting. You have a great opportunity to influence your children as well as their friends. We have challenging times ahead of us.
Please make the time to ensure that your children have the knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully face the challenges in their future.