As a parent there is nothing worse than seeing fear and panic in our children and storms are just one of the many reasons as to why it may happen. There are however, things that you can do to keep your children calm during what may otherwise be quite a scary time for them.
Our two children are very different when it comes to storms. My daughter absolutely loves them whereas my son would often scream the house down.
Almost all of our sensory systems get tapped into during a storm – sight, smell, sound, even touch. All of this can be just too much for a child that doesn’t completely understand what is going on.
You must first have your own feelings in check. If a child sees their parent worry, it can evoke fear in them too. This is why it is very important that you remain as calm as possible to help your children feel safe and protected.
Don’t Dismiss Their Feelings
You must never try to just brush off the upset feelings of a child. Your children do not fully understand what is actually happening. They need to know that no fear is silly and that it’s okay to be afraid.
Don’t Avoid the Situation
Some parents feel the need to support the avoidance of the situation altogether. This may work in the short-term but more often than not, it can make things worse in the long run.
Avoidance takes away the opportunity for kids to learn. Instead, they need to know that they are resilient, strong and resourceful enough to cope.
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Explain What is Happening
This won’t usually be needed for older children but if you have young kids, gather them together and give them a little science lesson and explain what a storm actually is and how they occur.
By understanding the facts, your children can better deal with the situation. Taking the time to explain it to your children will also keep their minds off of what is going on outside.
Let them ask any questions that they may have and do your best to be as open and honest with them as you can.
Make Some Noise
Thunderstorms can be noisy in themselves but it may help to make some more pleasant noise for your children. You could:
- Play their favorite music
- Get out and play a musical instrument
- Put their favorite movie on the TV
- Watch the thunder with your child making excited noises with each clap of thunder
Play Games and Activities
A storm doesn’t have to be scary, it can be made entertaining with the help of some games and activities. Some ideas include:
- Every time you hear thunder, laugh and clap and get your child to copy you. Laughter usually works well to reduce your child’s fear.
- Make up stories, like thunder happens every time two clouds share a good laugh. When I was growing up, my grandad used to tell me that thunder happened when a giant was hungry and his stomach rumbled.
- Make a den in the home using bedsheets and furniture. Let the child be the boss of building and tell you off if you don’t do as they ask (deliberately do it wrong at times).
- Make them their favorite snack.
Get the children having fun and before they know it, the storm will have passed.