Sesame Street Offers New Way to Help Kids Handle Disasters

According to NBC News, the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) Foundation and Sesame Workshop have launched an emergency preparedness initiative for kids. The initiative aims to make kids comfortable and knowledgeable in emergency situations, which are often frightening.

And Elmo is its spokesperson. (Click here for a quick video message about emergency preparedness from Elmo to kids.)

“Emergency preparedness is not typically thought of for early childhood education,” Jeanette Betancourt, Senior VP of Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop, told NBC News.

“But when we start these planning moments and learning this critical information early on, it becomes part of children's resiliency to growing up kinder, smarter and stronger. It really is valuable to start early not only as a child, but as an entire family,” said Betancourt.

The initiative consists of two mobile apps – Let’s Get Ready and Here for Each Other. Both are available for free online and in both English and Spanish.

Let’s Get Ready, according to NBC News, “teaches children what they need to know in case of an emergency – the names of their parents, their address and what to put in an emergency kit.”

Here for Each Other, NBC News says, is all about “how parents can talk to their children about emergency situations and answer questions that may come up and be difficult to address in the midst of chaos.”

Betancourt told NBC News that the idea for emergency preparedness education for pre-school-aged kids came about because of a strong need for both families and children to be prepared for disasters.

“A lot of research we have considered indicates that most families are not prepared,” Betancourt told NBC News. “In fact, there’s a study indicating that 60 percent of families don’t have an emergency plan,” said Betancourt.

Here’s a short video about the two apps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxqFkJJEmQ0

For more information on emergency preparedness for kids, check out these resources:

When in the midst or the direct aftermath of a disaster, parents/guardians can help children deal with their feelings and help them process the event they’ve just been part of. Here are a few tips from Save the Children to help kids feel safe again:

-First, put some kid-friendly supplies in the emergency kit. Things like coloring books, stuffed animals, toys, games, puzzles, etc.

-Limit TV time. Depending on the age of the kids, the constant, intense media coverage of the disaster might be too much to handle.

-Listen. Hear what the child’s concerns are.

-Comfort. Let kids know that their safety is your top priority.

-Be aware. Kids will show they’re stressed out by changes in their behaviors, whether it’s something different about their sleeping patterns, a change in appetite, etc. Professional support/counseling may be needed if these symptoms of stress persist.

-Keep calm. Kids will learn from you how to deal with these events and how to react.

 

See the original NBC News article here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sesame-street-apps-help-kids-deal-disaster-n220421
For more on the Let’s Get Ready app, click here: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/ready