02 April 2024

How to prepare for a hurricane or typhoon

Cyclones bring destruction, fear and uncertainty. Follow our tips to help your family stay safe and be prepared. Arrow Jump to: Facts about cyclones How to prepare What to do during a cyclone What to do after a cyclone Comforting your children  , Facts about cyclones, What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?, Hurricanes and typhoons are both terms for tropical cyclones. The only difference between them is location., What is a cyclone?, A cyclone is an extreme weather event that takes place when winds rotate inwards to low atmospheric pressure over warm waters., What is a hurricane?, A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean with sustained winds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour., What is a typhoon?, A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour., How to prepare for a tropical cyclone, In Izabal, Guatemala, during the response to Julia Tropical Storm, people from the Cacao Frontera community are receiving their food supply. Talk to your family about cyclones If you live in an area at risk, explain to your child in an age-appropriate way what these storms are like and how you will do everything you can to keep them safe. Ready…, What to do during a cyclone, In Anketa, Tulear, Atsimo Andrefana region, the whole neighborhood is still submerged in water left by Hurricane Freddy. Listen to local authorities Check your local news or radio station for weather updates and official advice. If you are advised to evacuate, grab your emergency kit and ID papers and do so immediately. If you have not been…, What to do after a cyclone, The climate-resilient solar water pump system ensures adequate water supply and improve proper sanitation and hygiene practices of students and the community following the destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte, Philippines. Continue to stay informed Before going outside or returning home, wait for the “all clear” from local authorities to…, Comforting your children after a cyclone, On 7 September 2019, in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Shirley Benemé and her daughter Guyana, 1, have been relocated to a Government Facility that serves as a shelter for families affected by the storm. Start the conversation and keep it open Make sure you provide your child with opportunities to talk…
29 November 2023

3 ways to help motivate your teen

Is your teen struggling with motivation? Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist, mother and best-selling author, shares three ways you can help your teen feel motivated. Watch the video or read the tips below, 3 ways to help motivate your teen, Just like everybody else, at times, teens have to do things that they're not in the mood for. When this happens, there are three ways adults can help teens to feel motivated., 1. Offer choices, It's nice to have options. Research shows that teenagers are more likely to feel motivated when they are given options for how to tackle the work at hand. For example, be open to your teen's ideas about how to solve problems, complete tasks or practice new skills. And, when possible, be flexible about when and where teens do the things we ask of…, 2. Praise effort, Cheer your teenager on. Done right, praising teenagers can help them to feel motivated. Our praise should be sincere. And it should celebrate effort, not talent. For example, saying, “I see how hard you worked”, or “I see how much care you put into this”, or “I'm impressed by your stamina,” will build more motivation than saying, “Wow, you're…, 3. Get creative with rewards, Get creative with rewards because everybody needs encouragement. Just as adults don't enjoy every item on our to-do list, teens sometimes struggle to get going on the things that they need to do. At these times, consider the value of a creative reward. You might suggest that your teenager take enjoyable 5 minute breaks between 25 minute periods of…
03 November 2023

How to recognize signs of distress in children

Children have different reactions to adverse events in their environment. Culture influences the ways in which we express emotions. In some cultures, for example, it is not appropriate to show strong emotions like crying loudly, while in others it is widely accepted.  Some signs of distress may not be so obvious. Here are some of the signs of…, Common reactions to stress in children, Many of these reactions only last for a short time, and are normal reactions to stressful events. If these reactions last for a prolonged period of time, the child may need specialist support.   Age Reaction 0-3 years Clinging to their caregivers more than normal Regressing to former (younger) behaviours Changes in sleeping and eating patterns…, Emotional check-ins, To check-in emotionally is to ask children “how they are” in a direct or indirect way. One check-in method is to ask your child to draw or paint a picture. Ask them to tell you more about the picture, what they have drawn, or why they used a specific colour, for example. This may help some children talk about how they feel, whereas other children…, Activities to reduce stress and support your child’s well-being, These activities can be done with your child to help reduce stress and provide them with positive coping strategies that support their well-being. These activities are also beneficial for you and can be done with your child together.  Belly breathing Often when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow, high in our chests, and we forget to…
15 September 2023

Flood safety information

Experiencing a flood is difficult and devastating for anyone, but especially so for children and their families. If you live in an area at risk of flooding, follow these expert tips to keep yourself and your family safe. Arrow Jump to: Facts about floods How to prepare What to do during a flood What to do after a flood Comforting your children  , Facts about floods, What is a flood?, Floods are an overflow of water onto land that is usually dry. Inundation floods develop slowly over a period of hours or days while flash floods occur suddenly and often without warning. River floods are caused when consistent rain or snow melting forces a river to exceed capacity. Coastal floods are caused by storm surges associated with…, What causes floods?, Floods can occur during periods of intense rainfall, when snow melts quickly or when dams break., What is a flash flood?, Flash floods are the most dangerous type of flood because they happen quickly and often without enough time for local governments and authorities to warn the community. Flash floods happen when rainfall happens too quickly for the ground to absorb, causing the water levels to rise rapidly., How to prepare for a flood, Flooded streets in Kherson, Ukraine. Talk to your family about floods Spend time together talking about floods and why they occur. Practice your safety plan Find a safe evacuation route to take in the event of a flood and practice it with your family. Talk together about having a meeting point in case you get separated. Create an “emergency kit”…, What to do during a flood, The effects of climate change are hitting Madagascar hard, one of the least polluting countries on the planet. Listen to local authorities Tune in to your local news or radio station for weather updates and official advice. If you are advised to evacuate, grab your emergency kit and ID papers and do so immediately. If first responders have set up…, What to do after a flood, Juana Jennifer Tzoy, 9, and Manuel Moreno from UNICEF, travel in a boat to where her school used to be in the town of Campur, San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Listen for updates Monitor updates from local authorities and only return home when it is declared safe. Look after your family’s health The contaminated water created by flooding…, Comforting your children after a flood, Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Maryana has been confronted with restless thoughts every day. She and her 8-year-old son flee to Germany, after escaping from shellings in her homeland. Start the conversation and keep it open Make sure you provide your child with opportunities to talk about how the flood made them feel and encourage them to…
04 August 2023

Earthquake safety information

Experiencing an earthquake is scary for anyone, but especially for children. These devastating events aren’t preventable or predictable, but if you and your family live in an area at risk, then it’s important to take steps to be as prepared as possible. Children always benefit from having a plan in place and the adults in your home will too. Arrow…, Facts about earthquakes, What causes earthquakes?, Earthquakes are a rapid, sudden shaking of the earth caused by the built-up pressure of shifting rocks beneath the Earth’s surface. They can happen at any time and there is no way to predict them., Where do earthquakes occur?, Earthquakes can happen anywhere, but they are more likely to happen at the boundaries between tectonic plates (massive slabs of rock made up of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle) called faults., What are earthquake aftershocks?, Aftershocks are the lower-intensity tremors that follow an earthquake. They are the most severe in the hours and days following an earthquake, but their frequency and intensity decrease over time., How to prepare for an earthquake, Fabienne Francois and her 9-year old Rebecca Maurice in Port-au-Prince, Haiti., Understand your risk , Earthquakes can happen anywhere, but they are more likely to occur in certain areas. Find out if this applies to you and, if so, what your local authorities recommend. If you live in a coastal area, learn about the risk of tsunamis after an earthquake and develop a family plan accordingly. Talk to your children If you live in an area at greater…, What to do during an earthquake, Vira, a mother of three from Zaporizhzhia oblast, Ukraine, is holding her youngest daughter in her arms. If you are inside a structurally-safe building, stay indoors  Remember: Drop, cover and hold on: Drop down to your hands and knees, take cover under something sturdy like a table or desk and hold on to a piece of furniture or sturdy object with…, What to do after an earthquake, A father and his four children who survived the devastating earthquake of 7.7 magnitude pose in the temporary shelter area in Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye. Check for risks  Be aware that there may be hazards such as fallen objects or broken glass around you. Look for any immediate dangers, such as fires. Go to a safe, clear area outside if possible …, Comforting your children after an earthquake, Julius and his mother are talking in the kitchen in Cologne-Lövenich, Germany. Start the conversation and keep it open Make sure you provide your child with opportunities to talk about how the earthquake made them feel and encourage them to share any worries or feelings of fear or anxiety. Show them that you are listening carefully and care deeply…
03 August 2023

How to keep your child safe online

As your child grows, it is likely they are spending more and more time online. There are so many positive things about being online like staying connected with friends and family, pursuing interests, and being part of communities. But it is not always a safe and positive experience for children. Here's how you can help your child maximize all the…, 1. Set clear ground rules, Have honest conversations with your children about who they communicate with and how, and who can see what they post online.  Explain that anything that goes online – pictures, videos, comments, things they share with others and what others post and share with them and about them – leaves behind a trail of information about them. To make sure they…, 2. Use technology to protect them, Check that your child’s device is always updated and running the latest software, and that privacy settings are on and configured to minimize data collection so that people don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see. Help your child learn to keep personal information private. If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see…, 3. Spend time with them online, Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family and you. Connecting with others can be an excellent opportunity for you to model kindness and empathy in virtual interactions. Help your child recognize and avoid misinformation and disinformation, age-inappropriate content and content that can…, 4. Model healthy online habits, Promote positive online behaviour by practicing it yourself. Be mindful of the example you set and what you share online about your child, including their photos and videos. Encourage your child to be kind online and to support friends and family by sending positive messages or emojis. If they have classes online, encourage them to be respectful…, 5. Let them have fun and express themselves, Spending time online can be a great opportunity for your children to be creative, learn, use their voices to share their views and support causes that are important to them. Encourage your child to use resources on the internet to help them get up and get moving, like online exercise videos for children and video games that require physical…
14 July 2023

Heat wave safety tips

Heat waves are anything but fun in the sun. Extreme heat and humidity can be extremely uncomfortable and pose serious health risks, especially for infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without taking the proper precautions, extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and even worse, fatality. As a result of climate change, heat waves are…, Heat wave facts, Heatwave facts: A girl stands under the hot sun What is a heat wave?  Heat waves happen when the temperature is higher than normal for several days in a row. Humidity can cause it to feel much hotter. What causes a heat wave?  Heat waves result from warm air being trapped in the atmosphere and are a natural weather phenomenon. Heat waves are…, What to do in a heat wave, How to prepare for a heatwave: A girl stands next to a fan Be prepared Know how hot and humid it is going to get today, this week and this month to help plan outside activities. Keep an emergency kit at home that contains oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets, a thermometer, water bottles, towels or cloths to wet for cooling, a handheld fan or…, Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, How to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: A girl looks confused as a caregiver supports her Severe symptoms of heat stress require urgent care.  If a family member is presenting any of the severe symptoms below you should call for an ambulance or arrange for another form of transport to a health facility immediately. Trust your instincts and don’t…, Symptoms of heat-related illness, Milder symptoms - treat at home Severe symptoms – take to hospital immediately General Dry lips/sticky mouth Excessive thirst Excessive sweating Weakness /dizziness Nausea/vomiting Small blisters/rashes Heat rashes Mild fever Nosebleeds Cramps, usually in arms and legs Confusion/not responding clearly /seizures/coma/not waking up (MOST SEVERE)…, How to treat heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, How to treat heat related illness: A girl lies on the floor while a caregiver provides water Take the following steps to help your loved one cool, rehydrate and recover:, 1. Cool and rush to health facility if severe, If a family member is experiencing severe symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to cool first and transport second.   Help the person sit or lie down in a cool shaded area with good ventilation. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available. Apply wet towels to the skin at head, neck, armpits and…, 2. Reduce temperature, Move the person into a cool area if not done so already. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available.    Apply wet towels or cool water to the body, particularly at head, neck, armpits and groin. Keep changing the towels or dipping them in cool water every few minutes to provide cool water for the body. If…, 3. Rehydrate, Infants under six months: Breastfeed to rehydrate the infant. Encourage mother to also drink more water, especially if breastfeeding.  Older infants and children: Given your infant or child water in small amounts to help them become used to it.  If the child has sweated a lot or is sweating a lot, add some Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to the water…
22 June 2023

How to protect your family's mental health

How do I keep my child motivated? What can I do to help protect my child's mental health? Psychologist and child development expert Dr. Lisa Damour answers these questions and more.  , How do I approach the topic of mental health if it is considered to be a taboo in my family?, Experiencing a wide range of emotions, including uncomfortable feelings, is an important part of being human. You should not feel ashamed or be made to feel ashamed if you experience sadness, anger, frustration or any other feeling that can be sometimes painful. When we have uncomfortable emotions, the healthiest thing we can do is to talk about…, What can I do to help protect my child's mental health?, Nothing protects a child's mental health like having a warm and loving relationship with adults. So anything you do where your child is having fun and you're having fun with your child is good for your kid. That might be playing together, kicking a ball back and forth together. Or it can also be things like cooking dinner together or fixing…, How can I best balance providing attention to my child and my busy work schedule?, Raising young children takes a lot of time and energy, and it can be hard to juggle that with having a busy job. One thing that helps is to try to focus on only one thing at a time. Focus on your child or focus on your work. If you try to do both at the same time, you'll become frustrated and your child will become frustrated too. And remember,…, How do I keep my child motivated?, At times, it can be hard for kids to feel motivated. Sometimes they can feel tired and worn down. Don't worry that there's something wrong with your child if they don't always feel like doing their schoolwork or the work around the home. It's okay to support them by doing things such as offering to do your work next to them while they do homework…, How can I manage loneliness as a parent?, Being a parent can be a very lonely time of life. Working to meet your child's needs can make it hard to meet your own. As a solution, see if you can connect with another parent who's raising a child about the same age as yours, either talking over the phone or getting together. Other parents know what you're going through and make for excellent…, How can I stay positive during hard times?, It's easy to feel despairing during difficult times. To help yourself feel better, one thing that works well is to focus on what you feel grateful for. A joyful moment with a child, a beautiful day, the presence of loved ones. When we practice gratitude, when we think about the things for which we are thankful, it almost always boosts our sense of…, How can I help my child adjust to a big life change?, Change, by its nature, is stressful. This is true for unwanted changes, such as needing to move way from a home that one loves, and also for welcome changes, such as going on an exciting trip. There’s one key to helping children manage the stress that comes with change: prepare them for what to expect. When we tell children as much as we can about…
19 June 2023

3 ways to help get your teen to open up

It's not always easy to get teens to share their feelings. Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist, mother and best-selling author, shares three tips that can help make a big difference. Watch the video or read the tips below   , “3 ways to help get your teen to open up”, It's not always easy to get teens to share their feelings. But there are three things adults can do that make a big difference.  , 1. Focus your questions, Instead of asking teens: “How was school or What did you do today?”, try asking more focused questions such as “What was the best or hardest part of your day?” or “How are you liking the book you're reading for class?”. Teenagers are more likely to open up if we steer clear of broad topics in favour of more specific subjects.  , 2. Work with their terms, Teens can be more likely to share what's on their minds under conditions that help them to feel comfortable. Some teens talk most freely when the conversation isn't face to face, such as when out on a walk or riding along in the car. Other teens open up when they know the conversation won't last too long, such as when they'll soon be headed out…, 3. Be present without an agenda, Teens really appreciate it when adults provide their “agendaless" presence. When we are around but aren't asking the teenager to do something or asking a lot of questions. Set aside and protect unstructured time to be with your teen. Just being together is an important way that we connect with our teenagers, and it's often in the quiet times that…
19 June 2023

3 ways you can help your teen express emotions

It's healthy and important for teens to express their emotions. Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist, mother and best-selling author, shares three ways you can help support your teen. Watch the video or read the tips below, “3 ways you can help your teen express emotions”, It's healthy and important for teens to express their emotions. Here are three ways for adults to support them when they do.  , 1. Respond with empathy, When teens tell us that they are feeling upset, adults can be tempted to respond with advice, encouragement or questions. These may be useful, but it's often the case that what teens want most is empathy. When teens share painful feelings, consider responding first with compassion, saying: “I'm so sorry that you are feeling that way” or “Of course…, 2. Get specific, Talking about feelings provides emotional relief and research shows that talking in highly specific terms about emotions can be especially helpful. If your teen shares that they're feeling anxious ask them what's going on and listen carefully. Then, see if you can offer even more precise terms for how they are feeling. Depending on what they've…, 3. Value non-verbal expression, Teens aren't always in the mood to talk about how they are feeling and that's okay. There are many healthy ways for teens to get their feelings out that don't involve words. Teenagers often find emotional relief through physical activity or by having a good cry, by listening to music, or through making art that expresses how they feel. Tune into…
30 May 2023

Teens and risky behaviour

Teenagers’ interest in new experiences is natural and a key part of what helps them grow. By pushing boundaries, teens develop independence and become increasingly self-reliant. But sometimes teenagers can take risks that put their safety and those around them in danger.  It can be a worrisome time for parents, but it’s important to remember that…, Why are teens drawn to risky behaviours?, Dr. Damour: Teens are driven to seek out new and exciting experiences. Some of this is neurological – their brains are highly sensitized to the excitement that comes with experiences that feel rewarding and that can cause them to seek out thrills more than children and adults do.  Teens’ drive for greater independence can mean that they will push…, How do teens think about risks?  , Dr. Damour: How teens reason about risk can be shaped by the contexts in which they find themselves. When teens are with adults or in situations that are not emotionally intense, they tend to reason very carefully about risk-taking behaviour. But when they are with their friends in socially or in emotionally charged situations, then they are less…, How can parents help keep teens safe? , Dr. Damour: The first thing parents and caregivers can do to help keen teens safe is to provide reasonable levels of supervision as we know that it can reduce the likelihood of dangerous risk-taking in teenagers.   The second thing parents should do is offer themselves as a partner in their teenager’s safety. Remember, prioritizing safety is…, When should parents worry about risk-taking behaviour? , Dr. Damour: Risk taking is most concerning when teenagers engage in high-risk behaviours that can have the potential for lasting consequences, such as experimenting with drugs, alcohol, smoking, unprotected sex or reckless physical behaviour.  It's time to worry if your teenager is engaging in risks that could have lasting consequences, such as…, What can I do if I’m worried my teen is endangering themself?   , Dr. Damour: Parents and caregivers who are worried about their teenagers’ risky behaviour should express their concerns directly to the young person. Consider saying: “You need to be safe. If you are unable to keep yourself safe, it becomes my job to keep you safe, which may mean that you enjoy less freedom.”   The adult can then have a…, When should parents seek professional help? , It's time to seek help from a mental health professional when teenagers routinely engage in worrisome or dangerous behaviours – such as high-risk substance use, persistent recklessness, self-harm, or violence towards others – and the efforts you are making to help them take better care of themselves are not working.   Sometimes teenagers will be…