We offered you Hurricane Survival Tips For Parents, which included some tips for easing your child’s fears about a hurricane. But if you’re anything like me, you are experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress at the moment. Imagine how your little ones feel. My husband gently reminded me that my reactions greatly influences our kids, so I had to calm myself down.
I’m trying not to get too caught up in news coverage. I’m keeping our routine as close as possible and taking breaks doing something to take our minds off of Hurricane Sandy. We’re cooking, playing board games and snuggling on the couch—lots of snuggling. Anything that will help us all reduce our stress.
Here are some great resources for parents on reducing your child’s fears about Hurricane Sandy:
- American Red Cross
- Sesame Streets Hurricane Toolkit
- FEMA Kids
- After The Storm
- Responding to Natural Disasters: Helping Children and Families
LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow wrote this wonderful, must-read article for parents:
Hurricane Sandy and Our Children by LeVar Burton
As I write this, forecasters are concerned that Hurricane Sandy may become a “perfect” storm, or in the words of the media, Frankenstorm. A hurricane of this magnitude is frightening enough for adults. For our children, who do not yet have strong rational reasoning skills, the news about the likely damage; power outages, trees falling into homes, lightening strikes, and dangerous waves, is scary enough. Adding words like Frankenstorm, can make their fears even worse. As schools close and storm windows go up for safety reasons, families gather in their homes together. This can and should be a time for calm preparation, assurance to our kids that adults are doing all they can, and that because storms come with a lot of warning, much has already been done to prevent serious problems from affecting THEM.
Limiting television news exposure for the youngest among us is probably a good thing. Feeding a 24/7 news cycle means endless images, often repeated, of the most visual destruction. Instead, talk with your children about what you as a family have done. You have plenty of food in the house, candles, flashlights and water. If the power goes out, darkness, wind, rain, lightning and thunder can make nights very frightening. If you are in storm affected area, invite your kids to sleep with you in bed tonight. A family slumber party in your bedroom can go a long way toward calming our children’s fears around and understandably scary event! It is very possible that Hurricane Sandy may affect lives for days, weeks and perhaps months to come.
Children know that our world can sometimes be a dangerous place and growing up in our world means not ignoring catastrophic events like natural disasters. It also means being prepared, being willing to be scared together; open to making it an adventure, caring about your neighbors, lending a helping hand and making it through difficult times as a family.