Well, thank goodness Hurricane Ike didn't come to Corpus Christi, but I'm sorry that it hit the Houston/Galveston area. Hurricanes, storms, fires and death are all traumatic for adults, but even more so for children. If your family has a disaster plan in place and practices it, things will be less scary for your child and for you.

There are several Web sites that have information about games, talks and ideas for preparing your child in case of a disaster. Just two of the Web sites I ran across when I searched "children and disaster" were http://www.ready.gov/kids and http://www.aap.org/family/frk/frkit.htm. The first site is one from FEMA and has lots of interactive games and ideas for your family.

We also have books in the library that cover different storms and fires. If your child has an idea about what the storm looks like and how it forms you can make the storm a science project instead of a very scary event. Seymour Simon has several books on storms and hurricanes and tornadoes that show awesome pictures.

Have your children make their own special bag to pack where they can put their important things. This makes sure that the favorite animal or book gets brought. Getting the child involved in the actual packing also helps them keep busy and involved.

Have them pack their favorite snacks or foods in a bag for them to carry. Try going out and buying a "special" disaster bag for the children to put their things into before a storm and keep it in an area where you can get to it immediately.

Tell your children your plans for escaping if you are going to leave. Try having a travel bag at all times in your car with games and coloring books and colors and toys. Let them know that you're going to be with them to take care of them at all times.

It's not fun talking with your children about bad things happening, but if you have already prepared your child for what's going to happen you won't have as much stress in the actual event that something does happen.

For those of you with family in the Galveston/Houston area, I hope you have heard from them and that they are safe. I know several organizations and churches are putting together supplies to take to the area, so try getting your child involved in helping give to the other families.

Knowing there is something you can do to help makes a situation less scary.

Jean Meadors is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.