As Sandy is approaching the East Coast many parents are trying to prepare their children for the storm. Here are a few tips for talking to your child in preparation for a Hurricane.
- Explain the situation in simple and non-threatening words. For example, ” Mommy and Daddy are buying flashlights and water for a hurricane or storm. This means there might be loud rain, maybe some thunder, and wind. Sometimes the wind can be loud and make the lights go out but you are safe.”
- Always remind your child they are safe. Discuss how you are going to keep them physically and emotionally safe.
- Physical safety: Remind your child you are prepared and the home is secure. For example, discuss how you bought plenty of flashlights, batteries, water, and snacks in case you lose electricity. Show them you have charged your phone and help your child charge theirs if they have one. Show your child where all emergency phone numbers are kept and review your family’s emergency plan.
- In case of an evacuation: If you are informed to evacuate simply explain to your child you are leaving your home because there might be strong wind and a lot of rain. Remind them it is a precaution – like having a “snow day” from school – to help keep everyone safe. Help your child pack some comfort items to bring with you.
- Emotional safety: Make a plan with your child in case they get nervous. Remind them the noise can be scary but they are safe at home. Discuss what they will do if they are nervous. For example your child can talk to you, use play dough or a stress ball, hug their comfort item, listen to their Ipod or use noise canceling head phones to help decrease noise.
- Prepare some games and toys in case you lose electricity. Crayons, coloring books, cards, DVDs (if you have access to a portable DVD player or laptop), favorite stuffed animal or blanket.
- Keep calm and keep the news to a minimum in front of your child. If you appear calm and prepared your child will feel secure and less anxious.