5 Essential Steps to Educate and Comfort Your Little One About Earthquakes

Learn how to explain earthquakes to kids, practice safety drills, comfort them post-event and more below.

Earthquakes can be a scary experience for anyone, especially for little ones. As parents, it’s our job not only to prepare them for what to do during these shakey moments but also to comfort them and alleviate their fears afterward. Here’s how you can educate your child about earthquakes and help them remain calm and fearless.

1. Start With the Basics

Begin by explaining what an earthquake is in simple terms. Use a friendly tone and age-appropriate language, saying something like, “Sometimes the ground shakes a little bit because the pieces of the Earth’s crust are moving.” It’s like when they feel the ground move while jumping on a trampoline but less fun. Emphasize that while it’s natural to feel scared, there are ways to stay safe.

2. Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” Together

Make it a fun yet serious game. Teach them to “Drop” to the ground, “Cover” their head and neck with their arms, and if possible, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, then “Hold On” until the shaking stops. Practice this drill together until they feel comfortable with the steps. Celebrate their bravery with high fives or a little reward, like a sticker, to reinforce positive feelings about their ability to protect themselves.

3. Create a Safety Kit Together

Involvement in preparation can help reduce fear. Put together a small safety kit with your child, including essentials like water, snacks, a flashlight, and a teddy bear or comfort item. Label it as their special earthquake kit. This not only teaches them about preparedness but also gives them a sense of control and reassurance that they have tools to stay safe.

4. Create a Family Contact Sheet

Teach your child the names and phone numbers of family members and how to dial them on a phone. For younger children, have a family emergency contact sheet with pictures and names in an accessible place. Knowing whom to reach out to can help them feel more secure if they ever need help.

5. Discuss and Debrief After Drills or Actual Earthquakes

After practicing earthquake drills or experiencing an actual earthquake, take time to discuss what happened. Encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts. Reassure them that it’s okay to feel scared and that you’re there for them. Share your own feelings too, as this shows them they’re not alone in their fears. Incorporate calm-down techniques like deep breathing, reading a favorite book together, or listening to soothing music to help ease their mind.

Love and Reassurance Are Key

Throughout all these steps, the most important thing is to show love and provide reassurance. Your calm presence, understanding, and hugs are powerful tools in helping your child feel safe and secure, even when the Earth shakes.

With these strategies, we hope you feel equipped to prepare and support your little ones through an earthquake and its aftermath.


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