CNN has an animated explanation of tsunamis on their site along with a visual of how they form. There’s also a link to NOAA animations showing how the wave from the Japan tsunami spread through the Pacific Ocean.
I also found the following tips from the Helping Children Cope with Trauma by the American Counseling Association (ACA) on NOAA’s Helping children cope with disaster page.
- Allow children to express their feelings about what has happened. Share your own feelings with them.
- Reassure children, repeatedly, that they are safe and that they are loved.
- Be honest with children about what has occurred and provide facts about what happened. Children usually know when something is being sugar-coated. Details should be age-appropriate, but don’t try to hide the main facts.
- Help children return to a normal routine as soon as possible.
- Spend extra time with your child, especially doing something fun or relaxing for both of you.
- Remember the importance of touch. A hug can reassure children that they are loved. Several hugs are even better.
- Review family safety procedures to help children feel prepared the next time an emergency situation occurs.
- Talk with teachers, babysitters, day care providers, and others who may be with your children so they understand how the children have been affected and how the children are reacting to the events.
- Watch for signs of repetitive play in which children reenact all or part of the disaster. Such play may be the child’s way of showing how deeply the event has affected the child.
- Praise and recognize responsible behavior and reassure children that their feelings are normal in response to an abnormal situation.
- If children seem deeply affected by an event, and don’t seem to respond to the positive actions described above, seek professional assistance by talking to a school counselor, your community mental health group or a counselor.
- International Medical Corps Emergency Relief – Donate $5, $10, or $25 to support efforts in Japan via Groupon.
- Red Cross– Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 or visit their website to made a donation of any amount
- Global Disaster Relief is using Facebook to spread information on how you can help with the relief efforts.
- National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s Dog Bless You is asking Facebook fans to donate $1 by clicking the Like button for their organization to help raise $100,000 to train canine disaster teams like those who are currently in, or traveling to, Japan.
- Mashable has a fantastic article titled Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help that outlines how you can text, donate via Facebook, buy virtual goods, embed code in your blog, “Like” a Facebook page, and donate via iTunes in a matter of seconds.
Ways Other Parents Talk About Tragedies
If you are feeling stuck and can’t find the words to talk to your kids about what is happening in Japan or need some examples about the ways other parents have discussed natural disasters with their children, here are some of my favorite posts by fellow bloggers that deal with these topics:
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama