Sesame Workshop: Helping Children Understand Natural Disasters


有鑒於近來世界各地天災不斷,Sesame Workshop的研究與教育副總Dr. Rosemarie Truglio和社區與教育服務副總Dr. Jeanette Betancourt想出了一些方法,讓家長以及孩童照顧者幫助孩子了解與面臨天災。茲摘錄如下:

1. 鼓勵孩子發問: 孩子的問題可以幫助了解他對於現況知道多少,同時你也有機會可以針對孩子提出的問題提供適當的回應,如果面臨孩子提出的問題感到措手不及,不妨在回答前先想想要如何回應,有時候說"我不知道"也是OK的,但必須讓孩童了解他們可以提出任何問題。

2. 提供事實: 盡量使用簡單的字眼解釋發生了什麼事,如果發生地震,就可以說"當地震發生時,地面會搖來搖去的,因為距離地面底下很深的石頭在移動",同時讓小孩了解大家都會感到害怕,不過大人會盡力保護孩子。

3. 尊重小孩的擔憂: 如果孩子跟你說害怕某件事物,要先認同他們的恐懼,讓他們知道感到害怕或恐懼是OK的。

4. 提供安慰: 孩子通常都會有樣學樣,當你對某件事情有所反應,他們也會跟著反應,所以請保持冷靜,就算孩子不斷重複同樣的問題,也請簡單地據實以告,要讓孩子知道跟你在一起很安全,別忘了表達你的愛與關心。

5. 謹慎篩選媒體: 盡量不要讓孩子一直重複看見天災帶來傷亡的畫面,小孩可能會認為這樣的災難不斷重複地發生。

6. 小孩可能會透過行動而非言語來表達情緒: 在天災發生過後注意孩子在行為上的改變,有時小孩會變得特別黏人,有時會特別好動,或者有時也會不想去上學。

7. 貢獻己力幫助他人: 可以在社區或是學校發起義賣,將所得捐贈給相關機構,這麼做不但能讓孩子學會同情,也能讓他們知道當災難發生總會有人出手援助。

(編譯: Phinn Huang)

In light of recent world events and events that continue to affect our children here at home, the experts at Sesame Workshop, Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, vice president of Research and Education and Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, vice president for Outreach and Educational Practices, created tips and information on how parents and caregivers can help their children understand and cope with these natural disasters. Children manifest concerns or questions in their own ways, and these age-appropriate materials will assist parents and caregivers as they continue to support and guide their children. 

  • Encourage your child to ask questions. Your child's questions will help you understand what he already knows about the situation and allow you to give child-friendly answers to those specific questions. If a question catches you off guard, take a moment to think about how you want to respond before answering. It’s also okay to say, “I don’t know.” Make it clear that you're open to talking about whatever he brings up.
  • Give her the facts. Use simple words to explain what has happened. In the case of an earthquake, you can explain that “When there’s an earthquake, the ground shakes. It shakes because rocks deep under the ground are moving.” Explain that it can be scary for everyone, but that adults do their best to keep children safe.
  • Respect her concerns. If she tells you that she’s afraid of something, validate her fears. Let her know it’s okay to be afraid or concerned.
  • Offer comfort. Children often take their cues from you; when you react, they react. Try to model a sense of calm. Answer even repeated questions honestly and simply. Reassure children that they are safe with you, and that you love them and will take care of them.
  • Monitor media use. Avoid having your child watch or see repeated images of troubling events, such as a natural disaster and its damage. Young children might think that the event is happening over and over.
  • Your child may express feelings through actions rather than words. Watch for ongoing changes in behavior in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Children may exhibit clinginess, over activity, or reluctance to participate in regular routines like going to school, etc.
  • Empower your child by thinking about ways you can help. Put together a lemonade stand or a bake sale in your community or school to donate the proceeds to organizations providing aid to the affected areas. Helping others will not only help your child learn about empathy, it also shows that there are people that will be there to help during tough times. 

What to say when your child says, “I’m scared!”

  • 2 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER: Let your child know it’s okay to feel scared. Even more than words, young children need tangible reassurance. Try providing your child with a comfort item to hold on to, and keep her close at hand. Lots of hugs help, too!
  • 3 TO 5: “It’s OK to feel scared. Can you tell Mommy why you’re scared? Mommy loves you, and I will be here to keep you safe.”
  • 6 TO 11: Start by asking your child what she already knows about what has happened and how she’s feeling, so you know how to address her particular concerns. Reassure her that it’s okay to be scared, but that she is safe and will be cared for.



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