Reducing the Impact of Disasters Through Education
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Children and Disasters

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Children and Disasters


Children are members of families. When disaster strikes, the impacts are felt by all family members - children included. This page provides links to resources useful for the whole family in addressing ways to reduce vulnerability to certain disasters as well as disaster preparedness, responding to and recovering from disasters.


While it is true that we cannot be prepared for everything, thinking ahead and planning can alleviate many, if not all, of the consequences of a disaster. Knowing that there is a plan can help family members better manage the stress that comes during these times.

General family preparedness

Deciding to stay or go


Plan to Protect Yourself and Your Family 

Family Readiness Kit: Preparing to handle Disasters

Disaster preparedness for people with disabilities

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Caring for your family during disasters: Being prepared (includes Spanish version)

Disaster-specific preparation

Preventing Home fires

Home Fire Safety Check  (Spanish version)

Earthquakes: Background information

Floods: Background information

Tornadoes: Background information

Winter storms: Background information

Being ready for a terrorist attack: Terrorist Hazards information


Children's Response to Disaster  

Children are affected differently according to their individual differences by disasters and other stressful events. The effects of disaster on children who are directly exposed to danger and trauma are different from those of children who witnessed but did not directly experience traumatic events. Differences in age, experience, maturity level, and personality, for example, lead to varying reactions to the same incident. With knowledge about how children may react, parents and other adults can feel more confident about talking with children and responding to their needs in ways that better enable children to cope and recover.

Children  as Victims of Natural Disasters

How to Help Children, Youth, and Teens After a Disaster 

Hurricanes (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

Responding to Natural Disasters: Helping Children and Families: Information for School Crisis Teams

Helping children and adolescents cope with violence and disaster

Helping children handle disaster-related anxiety

Managing strong emotional reactions to traumatic events

Helping your child cope with disaster

Children may experience long term effects of disaster

Children and disaster: Part 1 - Ages and Stages (includes Spanish version)

Children and disaster: Part 2 - What parents and caregivers can say and do (includes Spanish version)


Families' Response to Disaster  

Studies have found that parents own levels of functioning and their relationships with each other can be a buffer against the negative impact that disasters have on children. Thus, it is important that parenting partners pay attention to each other's needs and their own individual needs as well as those of their children.

Emotional recovery after a disaster  

Helping families during times of stress

Getting Through Tough Times: Helping Children Cope 

Helping children cope with crisis: A workbook for African American families

Caring for yourself as a parent or caregiver in times of disaster (includes Span.version)

Parenting and terrorism:

Parenting in the wake of terrorism

Resources for talking to your children about terrorism - links to sites for children of all ages

Supporting children during war and armed conflict (includes Spanish version)

Loss and grieving:

After people experience loss, the grieving process begins. People grieve in different ways. Understanding differences in grieving can be helpful as your family adjusts to the changes disaster brings.

Helping Children Cope With Loss, Death, and Grief: Tips for Teachers and Parents

Natural disasters Helping Children Cope


Children's Resources 

Information and activity pages that are fun and kid friendly.

Disaster preparedness online coloring book for kids

Tornadoes: Information for children

Resources for Teachers and Other Professionals:

Guide for teachers: (What children may experience, children's response to disaster, implications for teachers, what teachers can do, and additional resources)

School activities for children

Bibliography of children's books on natural disasters: (K-12)

Culturally competent crisis response

Road to Resilience 


Last Updated:1/11/2016 3:13 PM
This page was co-authored by Kara Lipsmeyer and Crystal Clark and updated by Sherry Nelson in 2015

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