What can kids do to help when disasters like Hurricane Harvey hit?
Kids are too young to write a check or give blood, but there are still many ways they can help those that are impacted by a disaster like Hurricane Harvey.
Many relief organizations are asking for monetary donations and usable donated items for those that have been displaced from their homes. Kids can take up cash collections, whether they do this at school or with their family members. That cash can be turned into a check designated to a reputable charitable organization. Kids can also go through their own clothes, books, and toys and set items aside that can be used by children that have been impacted directly by the storm. Many agencies are asking for monetary donations in lieu of “stuff” at the moment, but there will come a time soon where families will need things. Parents can help kids by sorting and organizing items that can be donated, finding appropriate organizations for the donations, and sending them off when the time is right.
Other ways that kids can help are by being creative and inventive.
Handmade cards and letters can be sent to area hospitals, schools, and churches. Kids that have survived hurricanes and floods themselves can bring messages of hope to those that are in the process of trying to put their lives back together. There are Hurricane Harvey Book Clubs popping up on social media sites, like Facebook. The book clubs are created for kids that have been impacted by the hurricane. One can record themselves reading a children’s book and post it on the page. Families are able to access these club’s pages, and the kids are able to sit and be read to. Many children impacted by Harvey have had their start of their school year delayed. Through these clubs, they are still able to have a few minutes of education and normalcy in a life that is very chaotic at the moment. Kids, with their parents’ help, can record themselves reading and post a video of themselves sharing their favorite book or story with others.
How can parents help kids develop a compassionate heart in general?
Teaching children to have empathy for others is an effective way to help kids develop a compassionate heart. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. A question that can help a child start thinking about others is to ask them, “How would you feel if you were in their shoes?” Children everywhere have survived natural disasters, such as tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, and of course, hurricanes and floods. Encouraging kids to think of times that they have had a similar experience will help build empathy and compassion for others. Allowing children to read about or watch news stories that focus on helping and reaching out to others can get kids thinking about things that they can do and would like to do to help others… of course, parents should always monitor what their kids are reading and watching on television and the internet, and especially regarding details of Hurricane Harvey. The content and images are often graphic and overwhelming and can easily scare or traumatize a child.