How To Keep Your Child Physically and Psychologically Safe In An Emergency
As a parent, you certainly understand what it means to try to keep your kids physically safe—you are doing this almost constantly. Sometimes you are the one providing the physical safety (e.g. childproofing your home). Other times, you are providing physical safety by teaching them how to keep themselves safe (e.g. looking both ways before crossing the street).
But what about psychological safety? Psychological safety addresses your child feeling safe, regardless of the presence or absence of a real threat. It is comfort, trust, well-being, and stability. For instance, young children may feel safe when using a pacifier or a special blankie, sucking their thumb, or hugging their stuffed animals. Older children may feel safe by hearing a familiar voice (namely yours) on the phone, getting a hug, talking to friends, or doing an activity that they enjoy (e.g. arts, yoga).
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that as the child’s caretaker, YOU are their main source of psychological safety. For many children, the image and memory of you, the sound of your voice, and memories of things you have said provide reassurance and a feeling of safety.
So, what does this mean for emergency situations when you are not able to physically be with your child? The more conversations and interactions parents and children have around preparing and planning, the safer everyone will feel. Consider it money you’re putting into the psychological safety piggy bank.
The type of interaction your child has with you and their LadyBugOut bag will depend on their developmental age, but here are some examples:
- Talk about the purpose of their LadyBugOut bag
- Crank the flashlight, blow the whistle, and encourage your child to wrap his or herself in the emergency solar blanket
- Explore your neighborhood at night with the compass and headlamp
- Make a sling with the bandana
- Complete the workbook together