Calming Children in the Storm
The past few nights we’ve had some pretty rough storms rolling through our area. They’ve knocked out the power to several surrounding areas, and caused down trees and other property damage in their wake. Thankfully, we’ve been lucky enough not to have any severe issues to our property, other than a glitch with the power and internet which caused the webpage to be down most of the day yesterday (sorry for any inconvience that might have caused for you). While I know that we are safe in our home, it’s not as easy to comfort the kiddos. Their television watching experience has shown them the destruction that a storm can cause and their little minds always jump to the worse case scenario.
Over the course of the years we have dealt with many storms. While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I have found a few things that seem to help relive the anxiety centered around storms in my house.
Have a Plan
For the control freaks in our lives, having a plan and knowing what to do when the worse happens can help with the stress. Before the storm hits, have a “What If” plan with your children. Let them know step by step what to do in case of each type of storm – similar to the way you have fire plans. That way, when bad weather comes, instead of feeling scared and uncertain, they will have a course of action to take. Having that little bit of control can help them deal with their anxiety over the storm itself.
Create a Fun Distraction
Thinking about the bad things in our lives rarely brings a positive outcome. Instead of allowing your children to sit in the safe room of your house with their minds racing over what could happen, distract them. Get a tablet to watch a movie on, bring a board game down to play, or grab a stack of books you can read together. Whatever activity you have, enjoy it! Let their minds dwell on a fun bonding experience with their family so that they can make some positive connections with storms.
Hug a Friend
Having something to hold onto can sometimes be a big help for little ones. Some have blankies, others have teddy bears or another stuffed animal – whatever your child has, let them use it. Having something to squeeze tight when the lightening strikes and the thunder booms can be a calming escape.
My youngest daughter uses a bear named Willie. Willie is a bear who is dressed in an English guard outfit. Most days he lives in my bedroom, but when storms hit (or bad dreams) Goose will most always ask if she can hug Willie. He used to guard the Queen of England, ya know. And if he could keep the Queen safe, he can keep my Princess safe! It might be just a silly story attached to a stuffed animal, but it really helps Goose at times when she feels scared.
Touch a Parent
Similar to hugging a friend, touching a parent can provide a huge calming effect. Sometimes you can rub their back or braid their hair, or perhaps you let them sit on your lap or snuggle with you in the bed – whatever method you choose, don’t be afraid to shower them with a little extra love. That simple reassurance from someone they trust can help them shed some of their fears and stress.
When it comes to storms, it is best to be honest. That doesn’t mean they need great detail, but the basics are important. The storm is moving quickly, so it won’t last long. Winds are picking up, which means the storm is getting closer so it should be over soon. It knocked the power out, but nothing has happened to our house. Always include some form of positive in your answer so that they don’t feel overwhelmed with the negative. The storm will pass and we’re going to be just fine – that’s the main thing to focus on.
While these tips don’t always work perfectly, they have gotten us through some pretty bad storms with some pretty big scaredy cats. Just remember to provide positive, calm interactions with them during the storm and they’ll make it through just fine. And so will you!
What have you found keeps your kids calm during bad storms?