No two kids react to major and minor storms in quite the same way.
Maybe yours gets a thrill at a flash of lightening or the kaboom of thunder.
Or perhaps yours is the type who frets as soon the clouds roll in—not unreasonable if you or someone your child knows has weathered dramatic weather events, especially hurricanes or tornadoes.
As any expert will tell you, storms trigger fear and anxiety—and for good reason. Many storms are dangerous and cause millions of dollars of damage as streets flood, trees fall, power lines break, schools close, and businesses suffer.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease your kids’ weather woes, both before a storm strikes and after it passes. Try these tips from leading psychologists and weather experts:
- Recognize that large and small storms can—and do—disrupt family life. Make sure you have enough food, water, and other essentials to weather the storm, and that you have an exit plan in place in case you are told to leave your area.
- Remember that round-the-clock news updates can trigger anxiety. Tune in discreetly to avoid frightening little ones, but often enough to make plans and provide comfort.
- Remain calm and supportive if your kids are apprehensive. Conduct business as usual: share a snack, play quiet games, or find other fun things to do. To alleviate anxiety, assure your kids that you have plans in place should the power go out.
- Let them know lightening and thunder are simply a part of nature. Show them nature is all around them: the ripples on a lake, the bugs in the grass, and the waves in the ocean. Think of other examples together.
- Don’t underestimate the power of curiosity. Kids may be afraid of storms, but they also may be interested in learning more about them. Share age-appropriate books about weather and weather emergencies, and answer your child’s questions.
- Watch age-appropriate videos together. Look for educational programs about clouds, weather, and world weather patterns. Avoid videos that play on fears or are overly dramatic. Tell your kids there are scientists whose job it is to monitor the weather patterns worldwide, and that helps keep people safe.