Watching the news coverage of Typhoon Haiyan and the devastation in the Philippinesis difficult for anyone. As parents, it's natural to want to shield your children from even knowing this type of nightmare-turned-reality can exist. Russell T. Jones, director of the Stress and Coping Lab at Virginia Tech, tells iVillage that children preschool age and younger aren't ready to learn about natural disasters. But children elementary school age or older may hear about Typhoon Haiyan at school, so it's important to talk to them and reassure them.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most important thing you can do is reassure your children that they are safe. This is bound to be their biggest worry. If they ask you questions about death, homelessness and the other harsh repercussionsof the typhoon, be honest with them, but emphasize that adults are doing everything they can to help.
It may also help your kids cope to contribute something to the typhoon relief effort. If you make a donation, have your child watch you do it and explain what the money will be spent on. You can donate to the Philippine Red Cross by clicking here and then selecting the Supertyphoon Yolanda campaign. CAREis another organization accepting donations, partnering with organizations on the ground in the Philippines to provide food, water and health care.
Natural disasters are difficult to talk about, but if done sensitively it can help your son or daughter develop compassion.