The images are common to most. Earthquake ravaged Haiti is reduced to rubble. Victims struggle to survive without shelter, food, and clean water while the injured await elusive medical care. While the situation is heart-rending and the images are compelling, as a parent, you may fear exposing your child to the grim realities of the tragedy. They are children, after all, and may have trouble making sense of such large scale suffering.
However, sheltering children from media exposure can prove nearly impossible given the pervasiveness of news and information. Even if they do not hear about the earthquake on television or on the internet, chances are they will hear about it at school. Moreover, avoiding any discussion of the disaster can foster unspoken fears. Once you have answered your child's questions and helped allay their concerns, encourage children to take part in the relief effort.
According to LifeCare's Guide, one of the best ways to help your school-aged child come to terms with the disaster is to encourage them to do their part. Not only will their efforts help to instill a charitable spirit, aiding in the relief effort can also empower children during a time when they can potentially feel powerless.
On the local level, Miami Dade Public Schools recently announced their decision to take part in Haiti's relief effort by collecting various essentials as well as monetary donations. Many of South Florida's private schools are also taking part in aiding Haiti's earthquake victims by offering collection sites. Whenever possible, allow your child to volunteer in community efforts or donate items. Doing so will help your child feel they are part of the solution rather than a helpless bystander.
Visit Miami Dade Public Schools for more information on helping Haiti.