Earthquakes are scary, but preparing your children for them doesn’t need to be! Make sure your children have the skills they need to survive with these 5 easy and fun ways to prepare your children for an earthquake.
- Discuss the safest places to be in an earthquake. Start in the family room and discuss what to look for in safe place. Those places away from windows and crouched, protecting their head and neck, next to large pieces of furniture or under sturdy tables and desks and most certainly NOT IN A DOORWAY. You can refer to our post How to Survive an Earthquake for more information. Also, discuss where they should be in their room. NEVER under their beds or in the doorway, but beside their bed.
- Play 1-2-3 Earthquake. Now that your family knows where to go, play 1-2-3 Earthquake. Set a timer for a minute, count to three and say earthquake. Have family members run as quickly as possible to the safest place in the room. Have them stay in their safe place until the timer is done. This helps children understand that earthquakes can last for awhile and definitely FEEL even longer. It also gives you time to coach a family member if they chose an ill-fated safety spot.
- Discuss what to do AFTER the earthquake. If you can get out, then get out but what if you’re stuck in the rubble? Have them practice pulling their shirt over their mouth and nose to help filter dust and practice making noise without their voice (banging on walls, clapping, anything) because they don’t want to lose their voice trying to call for help. Explain to them that rescue workers will be listening for noises to know there are survivors. Then practice! Have the child crouch, cover their nose and mouth, and make noise for a rescuer to hear. Have an adult come in and yell “Is there anyone in here?” Make sure each child has a pair of sturdy shoes under their bed.
- Play Rescuer Hide and Seek. The best way to make a scary thing not-so-scary is to turn it into a game. This game is played similarly to Hide and Seek except people make noise using anything around them except their voice. Choose one person to be the rescuer who will close their eyes and count. Other players will run and hide. While the rescuer is looking, have them use phrases a rescuer would use and have the players make noise using whatever is around them. As the players are found they join the rescuer in looking for everyone else.
- Reinforce you will always look for them. It’s important for children to know that you WILL be looking for them, that they should NEVER give up. This is a great time to tell your children how much you love them and that you will be looking for them. Knowing someone is looking for them, just may be the morale boost they need to survive. If you’re religious, this is also a great time to share with them that God loves them as well. That prayer is real and can be very comforting during a scary time.
Your children are counting on you. You’re the only one who can make sure they have the skills to survive when life gets shaky. It’s easy and sprinkled in with a few games, you’ve got this! Leave a comment below and let us know how it went for you!