Unless you are living under a rock, you should know by now that Hurricane Irene is coming to the East Coast of the USA. Now while it is good to be prepared and to know what is happening with the storm, panic can be felt by your children. How do you prepare your children without freaking them out? Here are some ideas:
Try going online and looking at these sites to help you prepare.
FEMA for Kids – This site teaches you and your children how to be prepared for disasters and prevent disaster damage. You can also learn what causes disasters, play games, read stories and become a Disaster Action Kid.
Red Cross Prepardness – This site helps you and your family prepare for a natural disaster or emergency.
Family Education – This site gives some great tips on how to prepare with your family and talk with your kids about the impending hurricane.
Sesame Street Online Video and Hurricane Prep Kit – This site is great for younger kids. There are friendly and easy to understand videos designed to inform and educate but, not scare children.
Here are some quick bullet points to keep in mind when talking about the hurricane with your children.
- Give your child the facts but, don’t launch into in depth details. Allow them to ask question and be ready to answer or, help them look up the answers.
- Provide comfort for your child. Be calm yourself, they will take your cues. Reassure them this is not their fault and that you love them.
- Listen to your child. Let him or her tell you how they feel and listen to them.
- Try and keep as much normalcy as possible. This may be hard but, try. Children need routine; they actually crave it. This will make them feel safe!
- Look for signs of stress. (bed wetting, nightmares, clinging behavior) Pay them attention and do your best to reassure them.
- Monitor what the see and hear. If you need to watch the news, make sure they are not with you. If people are talking about the storm or possible damage, excuse your children from the conversation.
- Have them help. Have them clean up their toys from the yard. Have them place flashlights in their rooms. Ahve them help you pack the emergency kit. Make a surprise to go bag – a soft friend, blanket, small toys, coloring books, crayons, dvds, books, PJs, etc.
- Review your family emergency plan. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and the back up location. Then make sure all adults in the house know escape routes and has the emergency kits ready to go. Make sure you have someone out of town that can be your family contact via texting if phone lines are interrupted. Check your insurance and get documents ready to go, with medications and any needs for infants or toddlers. Don’t forget about the pets in your family!
Sites for Adults on the Hurricane Prepardness:
Maryland Emergency Management Agency – This site gives you info specific to Maryland as it relates to Hurricane Irene.
Harford County Emergency Management – This site gives you info specific to Harford County Marylan as it relates to Hurricane Irene.
Weather Channel – This site gives you accurate information on the track of the Hurricane and its history.