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Helping Children Cope with Crisis: Help Your Child Feel Safe.

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Tell your child that you will always take care of him and protect him, even in times of crisis. Remind him that he is loved even when you aren’t there with him. Point out to your child that his village—his friends, family members, and others who love him— is also there for him, so he is never without someone who cares for him.

Name the people who can help him in times of need: friends, family, neighbors, religious leaders, teachers, and others. Make sure your child knows how to get in touch with you, or someone he trusts, at all times. Help him learn important phone numbers or put those numbers in a place where he can find them easily.

Why are these activities important?

No matter what happens, your child needs to know you’ll take care of him. These activities will help your child to:

  • Feel safe
  • Know he is never alone
  • See his connections to the people around him
  • Learn ways to be safe in emergencies
  • Understand that you will always take care of him
  • See that he is precious and wonderful to you
When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion.

-Ethiopian Proverb

Activity 1

What you need:


To you, your child is precious. But he may not always know you feel this way about him. This activity lets you tell your child that, no matter what, he is special to you. Knowing he can count on you and your love can make your child feel safe. The activity makes the connection between how you feel about your child, and what you do to keep him safe.

The activity also lets you explain the proud history of African Americans as a people who have triumphed over many hardships. By keeping their loved ones in their hearts, no matter where they were, African Americans were never alone.

  1. Read the poem, In Celebration of the African American Child, with your child. You may need to explain that ancestors are our grandparents’ parents and their parents. We are the descendants of our grandparents and their parents.
  2. Ask your child what he thinks about the poem, and how it makes him feel.
  3. Talk about the history of African Americans. Explain to your child that he comes from a rich history of strong, smart, creative people. No matter where he goes, or what he does, he should keep that pride and strength with him. Tell your child that he’ll never be alone because you’re always with him in his heart.
  4. Tell your child about times when you worked with friends or family members to get through a hard time. Explain to your child how it makes you feel to know you’re never alone.

Activity 2

What you need:

  • Ball of string or yarn

Ties that bind

This activity shows your child how he is connected to the people who care about him. By naming people in his support system, and saying how those people help him, your child will learn that he’s safe. This activity can be a fun way to include your entire family in this special time with your child.

  1. Sit in a circle on the floor with the others doing this activity.
  2. Point out that everyone in the circle needs the others for support. Talk about ways to help each other feel supported.
  3. Hold the ball of string and give a reason you need another person in the circle. While still holding on to the end of the string, roll the rest of the ball of string to that person.
  4. Have the person who just received the ball of string name a reason that he or she needs someone else in the circle. Then he or she should roll the ball of string on to that person, while still holding on to a section of the string. Continue until everyone is holding a part of the string. You may want to keep going even after everyone has a piece of the string, picking a different person each time. In the end, you’ll have a big web of string that connects each person in the circle.
  5. Discuss the importance of this web for working together and helping one another.

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Last Reviewed: 09/15/2006
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology