Severe weather and natural disasters are part of life. They just are. In my area of the country (Texas), we are quite nonplussed over tornado sirens, and I have (stupidly) been known to go stand on the porch to see if I can spot one through the trees â€“ after having made sure that my kids were holed up in a safe area, of course.
In fact, last spring we were hit with a series of large tornadoes that made the national news.
You may have seen the footage of the huge semi-trucks being scooped up into the air? Yep, that was our town. It was quite exciting, to say the least. I had actually stepped out on the front porch but couldnâ€™t see a thing when I heard that familiar train sound. The tornado passed parallel to our house and about 1/4 mile to the north of where I was standing.
Donâ€™t try that at home, kids.
Anyway, between tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and forest fires, kids can get the idea that the world is a pretty dangerous place. Which it is.
Itâ€™s a good idea to not only prepare them for severe weather by talking about it, but also to give them the skills to get through it without major damage to their psyches. Here are some ways to prepare the kids for the possibility of an event and its aftermath.
Have a Plan
Having a plan means that everyone knows what to do should a storm hit â€“ no matter when it is. Make sure your children know what a tornado siren sounds like and what they are to do if they hear one. Keep an empty backpack in everyoneâ€™s closet and when there is a possibility of evacuation, pack it up and put all the backpacks by the door, ready to go.
Make a game of practicing a weather emergency. Go through the steps, walk it out, and talk about it in a matter of fact way so that it will be familiar and not frightening.
What will you do if you are without power for an extended period? Stock up on candles, board games, books, and other activities to keep everyone from getting cabin fever. Water bottles, snacks, foods that donâ€™t need a microwave or a stove â€“ these are all items to have handy.
Involve Your Child
Ask your child what they would do, what items they feel should be part of the stockpile, and what entertainment they would like to include. Donâ€™t belittle their ideas and implement a couple of them. Make them feel like they are a part of the solution and they will be empowered in any event.
Keep everything matter of fact and let your kids talk to you about any fears that they may have. You might also want to keep the news off and monitor it from your computer or other source to avoid the hysteria that newscasters sometimes like to create.