I feel like my heart has this constant heaviness about it at the moment. The news reports have me at the point of tears most days and it leaves me looking over my shoulder more often than I should have to.
I then stop to think about my kids. The events going on around our world affect them just as much as it does us. My kids have stood in the very spot that people lost their lives in London last weekend. My daughter and her friends are of a similar age as the precious little girl who lost her life after enjoying a concert in Manchester only 2 weeks before. Guess what? She noticed… Her comment to me was simply ‘hey, she’s the same age as me isn’t she Mummy?’.
I don’t let my kids watch the news but it doesn’t stop them from learning about the tragic events of the day. They hear things on the radio, at school, in newspapers and overhearing conversations. You can’t avoid it and protect their little minds from everything as much as we would like to but is that such a bad thing? Should we be having these tough conversations with our kids?
I think we do need to have these conversations with our kids and share with them the amount of information that you know they can handle. I know I’d rather my kids hear of these tragic events from me so that we can discuss it further, than from a news bulletin full of graphic images that they don’t understand.
The other reason as to why I think it is necessary to have these conversations is because the reality is that nowhere in the world is safe and we must prepare our kids for emergency situations without freaking them out! We travel with our kids and I reckon that one of the reasons your reading this blog is because you do too. Therefore, we need to be prepared and prepare them for a situation that I pray never crosses your path.
Just like kids practicing ‘lock-down’ at school, we need to talk through the process we need to follow if we were to find ourselves in a situation our of our control when out and about.
Heavy and scary thoughts I know but bear with me, we can do this.
First of all we need to navigate our child’s response to traumatic events from around the world before we travel so that anxiety doesn’t overcome their excitement.
The Australian Psychological Society
has some great information on recognising the signs of psychological trauma and I encourage you all to have a read. On the APS website they highlight some of the symptoms of psychological trauma including avoidance of places or activities that are reminders of the event. Now of course every kid reacts differently to each situation but I know that if I tried to take my kids to London tomorrow they would not only question my reasons for doing so but possibly refuse to go altogether. Therefore we have to continue to discuss this and reassure them. We talk about the stories of love and kindness that have happened since the incident and how the police work very hard to protect everyone, etc.
Family Emergency Procedure
Our kids learn about ‘lock-down’ at school and what to do in the event of an intruder. We also teach our kids fire safety and how to get out of our house to a safe place in the case of a fire. We are also good at telling our kids about safe places and safe people if they get lost when out and about.
Here is a thought – have we talked to our kids about what to do in an emergency situation and especially when in another country?
Have a think about an emergency plan that works for your family and start teaching it to your kids in a way that doesn’t freak them out. Maybe attached some key words with actions and practice those such as ‘drop and hide’ which means get down low, stay away from doors/windows and hide. Practice holding hands a running as a game and see how far you can go without letting go. Keep it simple and make it fun so you don’t freak them out!
In the awful event that you or your child needs to provide medical information to a paramedic or doctor during an emergency then be sure that you actually have the important information available. Neither you or your child can be expected to remember and be able to recite this information in the event so why not keep it on a little card that not only you carry but so does your child. This can go in their backpack or even in their pocket. We call it the ‘Just In Case’ card! Just in case you get lost or hurt then everything a doctor needs to know immediately is on there.
Useful information includes:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Emergency Contact Details
- Blood Type
- Regular Medication and Supplements (including fish oil)
- Medical Conditions
- Any Other Important Information (such as Autistic, High Functioning, Triggers, etc)
- Nationality and Passport Number
To help you out I’ve created a little card that you can print off, fill out, add more info on the back and laminate for your trip. I also like to fill out the super important stuff, like allergies, in red pen to make sure it isn’t missed. Simply click the image below and print.
Your mobile phone also has the ability to store and have accessible your medical information. Have a look a your device and make sure it’s filled out. Might come in handy as long as your phone is working and has battery.
Register your Trip
Make sure your country know where you are and where your going. Here is Australia we have a great service set up by the government called Smart Traveller
. You can register your trips on there and receive email notifications including official bulletins and travel advice. The website is also a wealth of knowledge when it come to all things travel. I highly recommend that you get onto Smart Traveller, set up an account, activate email notifications and register your trip.
Ensure you are fully covered for each and every trip you take. Unexpected events and medical costs can happen so it is important to have complete and valid travel insurance if only just for this.
I plan on writing more about travel insurance and what to look out for when it comes to complete cover for your family but if you have any questions now then please feel free to email me – email@example.com
The current events and attacks that we are reading about over and over again are there to try and breed fear into us. Tragically lives are taken, even those of young children, and it continues to break our hearts and cause ourselves to questions our motives to travel. Reality is that we travel in our cars with our children each and every day which has been proven to be more risky than travelling the world. I think the reason we don’t seem to think twice about getting into the car is because we feel we know the risks and have some sort of control of the situation, even if we don’t really. Terrorism and attacks on cities seem to be random and unexpected which is what creates the fear. Don’t let that happen! Lets take control of our fears, be as best prepared as we can and go about discovering this amazing world we live in.
If you have been directly affected by any of the horrible acts of terror then please accept our sympathy and know we are always thinking of those families who have lost precious loved ones.
Are you planning your family holiday but don’t have the time to research? Then check out our Family Travel Planning Service here at The World And Kids.