Helping kids understand Sandy

After a week of school closures, power and heat outages across the city and now, massive efforts to help those most affected by hurricane Sandy, we are concerned about how New York City’s children are coping during the aftermath of this storm.

See below for a list of resources that address the issues that arise in children during times of trauma and stress:

  • FEMA: Keeping Children Safe in Sandy’s Wake. Written by a medical doctor, this guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency includes tips on how to keep children safe in storm-affected areas, as well as a section called “Addressing the Emotional Impacts from Sandy.”
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Resources for After a Hurricane. The resources include simple activities to do with your children or adolescents, guidelines for parents on how to help their child after a hurricane and ways teachers can support students in the aftermath of a hurricane. There is also a children’s book that explains hurricanes in kid-friendly language, with a useful guide for parents and caregivers at the end of the story.
  • The Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About Hurricane Sandy. The website includes a number of tips, and says “Be calm, factual and supportive. And turn off the TV.”
  • Teaching Strategies: Helping Young Children Rebound After a Natural Disaster. This website has a number of resources for talking to kids about hurricanes Katrina and Rita – but they’re just as relevant for Sandy. It includes PDF guides for infant and toddler teachers, as well as preschool teachers.
  • The Red Cross: Children and Their Response to Disaster. The website has tips for reducing fear and trauma in children. For example: “When you’re sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s uppermost in his or her mind.
  • Students may have misinformation about Hurricane Sandy, and we can do a lot toward alleviating their fears by calmly presenting the facts. Scholastic News has reliable and age-appropriate news about the storm, such as the article “Recovering From Sandy.”
  • Elmo has really been getting around! He also talked with children on ABCNews about Hurricane Sandy. There is even an old Sesame Street episode about a hurricane hitting Sesame Street that shows the events of a hurricane in a very child-friendly way. (Spoiler alert: Big Bird’s nest is destroyed.)

Sesame Workshop has developed a number of resources and toolkits that can help you talk with your children about hurricane Sandy:

 

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