New York, NY (October 31, 2012) — World Vision is a child-focused organization. The New York Mayor’s office has been alerting parents using Twitter to use caution tonight, encouraging children and adults to enjoy Halloween, but use good judgment and be careful. We acknowledge New Jersey mayors in their effort to ask families to postpone Halloween but in many cases you simply can’t stop a holiday from happening so we encourage parents to be very careful (especially those families on the Eastern Seaboard hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy) and ...
- Put safety as your first priority.
- Keep children (especially younger kids) close.
- Consider hosting a Halloween event at home for your neighborhood.
Children in New York City venture out to trick-or-treat despite Sandy flood damage and downed trees & branches throughout the city. Photo by Laura Reinhardt/World Vision.
Talking to kids about tragedy:
Talking to children about tragedy is a job most parents would love to avoid. Children are full of questions: Could this happen to me? What’s going to happen to the children? Can I do anything to help the children I see on TV?
World Vision US, a Christian humanitarian relief organization has assessment teams out today in New York, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey and other area hard-hit by the Superstorm.
World Vision suggests eight ways to make a tough job a little bit easier.
- Start by listening.
Find out what your child already knows. You can then respond in an age-appropriate way. The aim is not to worry them with the devastating details, but to protect them from misinformation they may have heard from friends or disturbing images they may have seen on television.
- Provide clear, simple answers.
Limit your answer to the question asked and use simple language.
- If you don't know the answer, admit it.
If your children ask questions that you can't answer, tell them so, and then do some research to try and help them sort it out. If they ask “Why did this have to happen?” don't be afraid to say “I don't know.” If you are part of a faith community, the reassurance offered there can be invaluable in helping your child sort through the truth that awful things happen.
- Follow media reports or online updates privately.
Young children in particular are easily traumatized, and seeing or hearing about the details of the massive storm may be more than they can cope with. Adults, too, should ensure they are dealing with their own emotions by talking to others, so they can continue to respond well to their children’s needs.
- Concentrate on making them feel safe.
When tragedies occur, children wonder if the same event could happen in their hometown. If it was an act of nature that could not be repeated in your area, tell children that. Placing themselves in the situations of victims is not all bad—it is a sign of empathy, an essential life skill, but watch for signs of excessive worrying.
- Give children creative outlets.
Some children may not be prepared to speak about what they have heard, but may find drawing or other creative activities helpful to deal with their emotions and stress. Their drawings can be helpful starting points for conversation.
- Model involvement and compassion.
Tell your child that, as a family, you will be helping the people hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy by giving a donation to a reputable charity such as World Vision.
- Give your child a chance to be involved.
Being involved in the solution will help relieve some of their anxiety. Invite them to contribute to the family’s gift by giving something out of their piggy bank.
To donate, visit www.WorldVision.org/AmericanFamilies. Or text: "GIVEUSA" to 777444 to make a $10 donation to World Vision's disaster response
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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicate to working with children, families and their communities worldwide by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information please visit WorldVision.org.