My sweet schnauzer, Beckham, may not be able to put on a brave face when the weather’s bad. But, that just may be what children in the home are doing, especially in the wake of last year’s active hurricane season.
Hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30. Talk to your little ones about their feelings. Have them play an active role in preparing a family storm plan. Include how far in advance to begin preparations, decide what to prepare now and what to pack. An ounce of preparation may go a long way to easing some of their anxiety, and yours.
Here are some tips that will help you get started:
- Talk to your kids now about how your family might respond in an emergency. Stick to age-appropriate language. Give them a chance to explain how they are feeling and answer any questions they may have. The discussion can reduce the anxiety and stress you both are feeling. If they seem unsure, do a trial run. Pack and load the car, so it won’t seem so scary when there is a need to evacuate.
- Assign children a task to help with preparations. This can be as simple as having them pack and set aside a bag with personal care items. But be sure to go through the bag with them once it’s packed so they learn not to forget essentials – like clean underwear! Kids also can help make plans for pets during the storm. This can help kids feel assured that their beloved animals will be safe.
- If your child takes medication or uses medical equipment, be sure to obtain a supply of their meds. Have a plan to pack and travel with vital medical equipment. You should also keep copies of your family doctors’ phone numbers and instructions for operating the medical equipment.
- In the event of an emergency, limit your child’s exposure to TV news and social media. Too much information often fuels anxiety. This is a good tip for you, too.
- Parents should remain calm and model good coping skills. If handled well, these experiences can build character and resilience.
If your family finds itself facing a hurricane season emergency, you’ll be glad you planned and discussed things with your children.