Disasters, Kids, Japan, Helping…

By , March 18, 2011 9:47 pm


The first thing I did on 9/11 was head down to my local Red Cross to join the giant blood donation line, something I had never done before.  Unfortunately there were not enough survivors to need blood, especially mine that was located way far away in New Mexico.  But of course no one knew that at the time.  I felt shocked, confused, helpless.  The only way to regain an illusion of control over life was to attempt to help in some way.

Children are prone to even more confusion and fear than adults when disasters strike somewhere on our planet.  With very young children, avoiding any TV or radio news coverage in their presence is probably the best solution.

With older children, viewing news together (or, in the case of our family, listening together) and answering questions is a better technique.  Children will hear talk at school that might be sensationalist, inaccurate, or incomplete.  Even those who are home schooled and perhaps more sheltered from school-yard talk, need to learn eventually how to analyze news broadcasts and understand the world.  This will be an important learning moment.

  • Stick to facts.  If there is something you don’t understand, research the answer together.
  • Stress that sometimes media coverage can be exaggerated.
  • Reassure them that such extreme events are rare and that they, and family members, are safe.
  • Brainstorm together ways to help, even if only in a small way.

HELPING (my favorite topic!):

Of course this post is inspired by Japan.  Here are some ways for you and your children to help there:

“Hope Letters will find ways to deliver the messages to local schools and school boards.  The messages may be posted electronically if that is available, placed as a hardcopy journal or broadcasted via local news agencies.  (Hope Letters is currently working to establish these distribution channels.  If you have suggestions, please get in touch with Hope Letters at HopeLettersCanada “at” gmail “dot” com.)”

  • Quick Fundraising Ideas (able to be organized within several weeks at most):

For schools – try bake sales, used book sales (like the one we did for Haiti), a penny war, yard sale, car wash, raffle off something cool (shh… for a good cause, people will buy tickets … even if your prize is really not that cool…), 50/50 fundraiser, guessing game.

For home – How about a lemonade stand, garage sale, birthday parties (donations in lieu of presents), street-side bake sale, car wash.

  • Be sure to donate your money to an official disaster relief organization now working in Japan.

It has been exactly one week since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It has taken me one week to attempt to comprehend what has happened there.  My thoughts are with Japan.

9 Responses to “Disasters, Kids, Japan, Helping…”

  1. amy says:

    Our 3 homeschooled kids are making origami peace cranes and selling the to friends, family and neighbors for $1. We have already raised close to $50. This has been a really meaninful project for all of us.

  2. Mom Unplugged says:

    What a lovely idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Heather says:

    My kiddos are pretty young (7.75yr, 6yr, 3 yrs). We haven’t really talked about it. We have discussed the earthquake and volcano, but they are sheltered from the magnitude of the crisis. Thank you for the link to Hope Letters. I think we will sit down and make a few.

  4. My children are fairly young too, but my 7 year old understood that something was happening. I believe in letting the child lead, giving them age-appropriate facts, reassurance of safety, and empowerment to help. We are working on the last one still. I also think it is a great reason to learn more about the people and culture of Japan for all ages. I am excited to check out Hope Letters. Looks like a great project.

  5. Meg says:

    I also found this site, because like you I was looking for something tangible.
    The kits may not all go right to Japan, but the idea is the same. And they have made it so so easy.

  6. maria says:

    Been checking on you and I’m really missing your blog updates. Hope you post again soon

  7. Sylvia says:

    I have to say too that my children are fairly young too, but my 6 yr old understood that something was happening. I believe in letting the kid lead, going for age-appropriate facts, reassurance of safety, and empowerment to assist. We’re focusing on the last one still.

  8. Mom Unplugged says:

    Oh thank you! I plan on a post today to let people know what I am up to. You are so sweet, made my day!!

  9. […] anyone alert enough to have noticed that my last post was dated March 18th and it is now October 26th, I can assure you that I am still here on planet […]

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