5 Great Resources For Talking To Your Kids About Superstorm Sandy

hurricaneI’m sure many of you are dealing with Superstorm Sandy’s aftermath today, and possibly for many days to come. Some of you may also be faced with the challenge of helping young kids understand what happened, especially as the death toll continues to climb and the damage reports keep rolling in.

Do you remember Mr. Rogers’ story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news? “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Ask Moxie echoes that sentiment in her advice on how to talk to kids about Sandy: “If you’re concerned about explaining the storm to your kids, it shouldn’t be complicated. Tell them there was–and still is–a big storm that knocked down trees and caused flooding and made the power go out, and today a lot of people are out working to clean up and bring back power and keep people safe. Look for the helpers.”


Look for the helpers. Oh, I love that. Here are a few more fantastic resources — online and offline — for helping children cope with the stresses of a natural disaster:

The After the Storm workbook. A professor of psychology and pediatrics released this amazing (and free!) 44-page workbook after studying children’s disaster reactions following Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Charley (2004) and Ike (2008). It contains activities that parents can do together with their children, including helping parents understand their child’s reactions, helping their kids develop coping skills, and working on future disaster plans together.

FEMA’s “Parents and Teachers” links. FEMA has a page dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with tools for helping children deal with disaster. There are all kinds of links to great resources for talking about a crisis, and planning for the future. FEMA’s hurricanes page (http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes) is also full of information, including explanations of the correct meteorological terms (this might be particularly handy, since it can be confusing for kids to hear words like “monster storm,” “Frankenstorm,” “superstorm,” etc).

PBS’s “Helping Kids with Scary News” page. () PBS has all sorts of tips for talking to kids about what’s going on, and helping alleviate their fears (one of their suggestions? Don’t leave CNN on all day long, the constant barrage of scary images are often too much for little kids).

Yesterday We Had a Hurricane book. (Written by an elementary school teacher, this book is praised by one reviewer: “This fantastic story with wonderfully creative lustrations takes a scary topic and explains it in a child-friendly way.”

The Magic Schoolbus Inside a Hurricane book. These books are well-loved for their ability to convey scientific information in an entertaining way. As one reviewer put it, “It’s a great combination of fantasy and science made even better by the fact that the layout of the book makes it easy for readers to tell the difference.”

Lastly, some final comforting words from the beloved Fred Rogers:

… In every generation, some of our children will always encounter the truly fearful aspects of life. (…) These encounters leave their marks, as all encounters do, but marks are not necessarily scars. I believe that one of the surest ways to keep the scars to a minimum is for caregivers to understand that what’s most important to young children is to be with the people they love (at least to know that they’re available) and to help them see that the world is peopled with many concerned and caring adults.

Do you have any good resources to add to this list?

Image via Amazon

Read More >