Our tips to help kids during a hurricane was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for 2018.
During a hurricane, it’s important to know how to help kids cope with the event. While there’s nothing you can do about the weather, your reaction and attitude toward the impending storm plays a significant role in how comfortable your kids feel. As a mom of three who has lived through a hurricane, I know it’s not always easy to keep your calm, but it’s the most important thing you can do to help your kids relax.
I think of storm preparation like the airline analogy where passengers are told to put their oxygen masks on first before assisting others. It’s the same thing when preparing for or riding out a hurricane – you have to make sure you’re calm before helping others. Your kids will need a lot of help during a hurricane, because it’s a frightening event that can cause displacement from and damage to the home they know. Make sure that you have your safety plan in place long before a storm arrives to ensure that when the time comes you are able to prepare your kids.
Below are six tips to help kids during a hurricane that will help them feel like they’re part of the process. They’ll feel less helpless and more confident when given jobs and tasks to help prepare. Even if they’re little, they can still help stack cans or hold the flashlight as you put in fresh batteries. Together, your family will be able to weather out the storm!
6 Tips to Help Kids During a Hurricane
Let your kids help you.
We are going to make a game of it as we did today. They’ve participated in some of our preparation. They helped us tidy up and find our flashlights. They each have their own LED lantern. Helping makes kids feel connected and gives them a little control. It also teaches them an ounce of self-reliance. They know where the flashlight is…they know where to find the extra batteries.
Camp out party!
The basement is the place to be when gale force winds approach and you have a very large tree only feet from your home. For us, flooding isn’t an issue…tree limbs in the house are. We are going to set up the basement like a big sleep-over camp. I’ve got some marshmallows for s’mores and we’ve got several stories all ready to go.
It will be far more scary for a child to hear howling wind and not know what it means. It will be even more frightening if they don’t know that the power may go out. Let them know, as only you can – – what to expect. Let them know it will be windy. Tell them the lights might go out, but we have lanterns, candles, and lights. If they feel you are prepared they will feel safer when things start to get rough.
Be prepared with supplies.
There are a lot of people who were caught off guard up here in Northern New Jersey last year when they couldn’t get out because of the massive flooding. Be smart! You should have supplies of water, dry goods, and non-perishables to get you through 3-4 days. Don’t show up at the store today…you’ll find empty shelves!
Have a backup plan!
Know where you are going to go if you should need to leave your home. Have the car filled with gas and pack a small run bag with clothes for everyone for 2 days. Don’t forget the pets…they have to come too! This should always be the case if any type of storm is heading your way!
Put on a Happy Face!
I know I’m overly worried about this hurricane. I teach science and I’ve never seen such a monster in all the years I’ve taught weather! I’ve never seen a cold front smash into a hurricane and have it grow so large. It’s irrelevant! I have to make sure I’ve prepared and that the kids feel safe. If they see me upset, they are going to have more apprehension.