The Calm During the Storm
6 Tips to Help Ease Your Child’s Fear of Storms
Yesterday in class, a student comes up to me with wide-eyes and a very serious look on her face. “The flood is coming,” she says.
“Oh, it’s okay,” I say quickly, not wanting to start a class-wide discussion about the impending storm.
But then, I started to think, how do we talk to our kids about storms? How do we keep them calm when we are also racked with fear about what could happen?
Here are some tips to help work through those fears and help children (and parents!) stay calm during the storm.
Have Them Help Prepare
Talk to your children and have them prepare for the storm alongside of you. Have them help you fill the tub with water, gather all the flashlights, and unload groceries. (I would not recommend bringing them with you to the store, if you can help it. Those places can be crazy during this time. As you work together, explain to them why you prepare and that these things will help keep your family safe.
Turn Off The News
Yes, it is very tempting to stay glued to the news alerts about the storm, but around-the-clock updates can trigger anxiety in both kids and adults. Check in, as needed, and make it your duty to update your kids (not the media) about what is to come.
If you child is getting anxious or fearful, offer them stability by doing your best to remaining calm yourself. Children feed off of our energy, so if they see you are anxious, they will be too. Support them and comfort them. And talk them through it, if needed.
Make The Most of Your Circumstances
Instead of dwelling on the negative, make the most of your circumstances. If you lose power, read books by candle light or play a game, like flashlight-tag, inside. If the storm is barreling down and you are unable to leave your house, grab some pretzels and a good book and snuggle up as a family to read. It’s a scary time, but you can still make the most of it by banding together and having a little fun, while remaining safe.
Create a Learning Opportunity
Read books or share facts about storms with your children, if they are interested. You child may find comfort in being more knowledgeable about what is happening.
In the scary moments, it can be easy to forget to relax your breath, but this can be vital in keeping your household calm during this turbulent time. Practice counting your breaths with your child, or, if the power goes out, do the following breath exercise together:
Light a candle (make sure to supervise this entire practice, as you are working with a live flame.) Watch the flame flicker as you take a big inhale, and then breathe out slowly, being careful not to blow the candle out. Watch how your breath affects the flame. Repeat 3-5 times. Then, take a deep breath to blow out the candle. Be sure to stop immediately if you feel light headed or dizzy.
Here are some helpful sites to share with your kids about storms and weather:
Ages 5 and under:
As you work through these ideas, I would love to hear your thoughts. What worked for you? What didn’t? Have any tips of your own? Comment below! Stay safe out there.