How to Keep Kids Calm During Hurricanes & Storms
With Hurricane Dorian approaching the east coast of Florida, you may be worried about the obvious things like your evacuation zones and where to find information. But you’re probably also thinking about the not-so-obvious things like how to keep your children not only safe, but calm too.
It’s normal and common for major storms like hurricanes to frighten people, especially children, even for the most hardy Floridians. The wind can be really loud! For us parents though, the fear is often replaced with annoyance at the inconveniences of power outages, climbing heat, etc. So it’s inevitable that our kiddos see and hear all of that and become really anxious which leads me to….
How do you actually keep your kids calm and not panicked during hurricanes?
First, and perhaps most importantly, do not panic yourself. You are your child’s greatest model and they look to you to see how to react and behave. Your dialogue tells your child how serious something is and how your feeling about it. You can still be truthful with your kiddo, but it’s a great strategy to keep them at a “need to know” level of awareness while accounting for their development/age. If you and your children do start feeling anxious, practice 10 breaths together. Use a feather or light scarf or your favorite fragrance <3
Let them be helpers. Kids feel great when they are trusted to help! Show your child that you are prepared (accountability eh?) by taking a walk-through of the house and your supplies. Give them a checklist and clipboard. They’ll have fun being a supervisor! Let them help by organizing the canned goods, or putting together blankets, etc. Even young children can help. Keep your tone matter-of-fact so that you don’t induce panic (see no. 1).
Validate your child’s feelings. They may be fine one minute and stressed the next. They may be hyper or really excited then frightened suddenly. Validate to them and to yourself that what they are feeling is real and is okay. They’re trying to navigate something so abstract in their eyes and their limited experiences form very little framework of understanding. Let them know that they might feel a range of feelings and that’s just part of being a human!
Lastly, and in my opinion, the best…make it fun! As Dumbledore says, “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Yes, it can be difficult, but if you can find that nugget of joy, you can have a hurricane party-kid style. Budget $10 and you’ve got yourself a survival kit of fun for kids! Play board games, color, paint, get the Play-Doh out, practice your downward dog with some candles. Your child might even look back and instead of remembering fear, they remember your camp-ins!
Do remember to have all important documents on hand as well as any phone numbers you may need. Try not to obsess about checking the weather too often as it can often be sensationalized and not conducive to remaining calm. Lastly, feel free to print our infographic as a friendly reminder of the above steps.
Wishing everyone safety and security!