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Learning about disasters

14 January 2021, Research and Reports

Helping children understand disasters and how they can make a difference

Disasters can be frightening – for children and adults alike. But learning more about disasters, how to prepare for them and respond to them are critical skills for children, who are growing up in an era where disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe. 

Preparing for the world to come 

With potentially increasing disasters on the horizon this summer including bushfires, drought, floods and cyclones, Save the Children have produced a video to support young children to understand more about disasters. 

The video can help teach pre and early primary school age children about how natural hazards can turn into disasters, what might occur in a disaster or emergency, and how they can make a difference. 

Watching the video and then talking about it can be helpful for children who may have lots of questions and concerns. 
You can support their curiosity and build their resilience by using age appropriate language to explain more about disasters and how to stay safe. It’s important to listen to their fears, and answer their questions by focusing on their safety and wellbeing. 

Children love learning through doing

After watching the video together, you may want to ask them to help you pack a ‘grab bag’ – a bag full of important items you could take with you in an emergency – or come up with an emergency plan for the family. 

Even in urban households where the risk of a disaster may be minimal, children can still plan for an electricity or water outage. They can help by making a list of non-perishable items the family could purchase during the next shopping trip to ensure the family has a three-day food and water supply. All these practical resilience-building activities teach children there are plenty of things everyone can do to stay safe during a disaster. 

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