When natural disasters occur, it is normal for children and adults to become anxious. Here are several things you can do to lessen anxiety for yourself and your children
- Consider limiting the amount of TV exposure related to the disaster. While it is important to get information, watching re-plays of the scenes constantly could possibly increase your child’s (and your own) worry about the situation. Get the information you need, then turn off the TV and other forms of media.
- Make sure you give your child age-appropriate, factual information. A five year old does not need to know a specific death toll, for example. Saying something along the lines of “A bad storm came, and some people were hurt or died” is more age-appropriate. For an older child, keep the information factual and brief, and if there are questions you can’t answer, consider doing some research together on what type of weather causes certain storms.
- When natural disasters occur, some children may struggle with the fact that weather is something that cannot be controlled by humans. Giving your child a task that is related to the weather may help decrease this type of anxiety. For example, have your child help stock a first aid kit or an emergency kit that you may place in your storm shelter.
- When you do prepare a storm kit, consider putting things in such as a deck of cards, art supplies snacks and games. If you do need to seek shelter, you will already have something in place for children to do, while they wait.
- Make sure you are taking care of yourself and meeting your own needs as well. When your needs are met, you will be able to better tend to the emotional needs of your child.
It is important to note for both children and adults, that no human controls the weather and it is not something we can change. We can change how we handle a situation, react to it and plan for future situations.