How to Teach Kids About Hurricanes
With Hurricane Florence right on North Carolina’s doorstep it is a good time to talk to your children about hurricanes. Do your children know the dangers of hurricanes and what to do when they strike? Charlotte’s Best Nanny has found a few tips and talking points you can use with your children.
Talk About Hurricanes
Kids may be confused about what a hurricane is, so use simple age-appropriate descriptions of what to expect if one is coming your way. For a younger child, you might say, “A hurricane is a tropical storm with very strong winds and lots of rain, lightning, and thunder. It’s also very important to tell kids that grown-ups will do their best to keep them safe. You can also use children’s books, such as The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane to help teach them about hurricanes.
Try to Remain Calm Yourself
Children of all ages can easily sense the emotions and feelings of those around them. When a parent or caretaker seems overly upset or worried about an event, this can make a child’s own fears or worries worse.
Prepare for the Storm
Let children help you prepare for the storm. This can help keep kids’ minds off of their worries. Helping prepare in age-appropriate ways can increase a child’s sense of control over the situation.
Here are some ways to involve your kids:
- Have your kids help bring outdoor items inside (toys, plants, patio furniture, etc.)
- Prepare a family disaster emergency kit. Have the kids help collect canned goods, batteries and get flashlights ready.
- Discuss your family’s disaster plan together. Will you need to evacuate — and what would that look like? Which grown-ups will do what? This will help kids know what to expect.
During the Storm
- Let kids pick a few comfort items, books, coloring items, non-electronic games, and toys in case of power outages.
- Try keeping their routine as normal as possible. This can help children feel calm and safe.
- Encourage kids to talk about their feelings or thoughts about what’s happening. Some kids might prefer not to talk right away which is completely normal. Spend time together and let them know that you’re there when they’re ready to talk.
After the Storm
- Try keeping the news off the T.V. and radio. There will be a lot of coverage of the devastation after the storm and these images and videos might be too much for young eyes and sensitive hearts to handle.
- Let children help with clean-up.
- Pay attention to signs of stress, nightmares and regressive behavior/acting younger than their age, and extra clinginess. These are common in children who’ve gone through a traumatic event. If you see any of these signs, talk to your doctor and know that trained counselors can help.
We hope everyone stays as safe as possible during this upcoming hurricane. Remember these tips to keep your family safe and sound through the storm.