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Suppose the alarm is starting and we must reach shelter as soon as possible for fear of falling missiles.

Our 2 y/o daughter understands most words and conditions, but I can't think of a good way to explain such a situation to her especially if it will happen in the middle of the night and she's forced out of sleep.

I believe many parents will make it a game for their children, for example "Let's race to the shelter, the winner get a candy" or "this noisy sound means we start a running contest" etc. However shouldn't we explain the real situation? At what age is it appropriate?

Are there other things to consider?

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This is what fire or whatever emergency you want drills are for... Practice at home just like they would in a daycare/school. –  Christine Gordon Nov 15 '12 at 22:55

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I do not have personal experience with what you are asking about, but we did need to prep kids for natural disaster and fire. The way we dealt with the alarm for fire drills and earthquake preparedness at the preschool (ages 2-4) was to be honest but mild with the kids and really focus on giving them tools they can use to help make them feel empowered in such a situation.

"You can help by doing. . . "

For example, "You can be REALLy BIG helpers! Staying quiet while we evacuate helps everyone be able to hear instructions." was one of the things we told the kids. In the case of earthquakes we showed them they had the power to choose to be near a wall in the "triangle of life" and cover their heads to protect themselves. We also had drills every so often. Practiced behavior becomes automatic behavior, then, if she needs to get herself to a shelter for some reason, she can do that too.

Stay Well.

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