Storm season can be a scary time for younger kids, who may grapple with understanding weather and their own safety in relation to them. Severe weather impacts all areas of Michigan and anywhere we may travel to, so being able to talk to and educate your children this storm season will help them cope and hopefully appreciate nature’s awesomeness.
Over the past half-century, the U.S. has seen steady increases in extreme weather events in terms of thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods – all of which affect us Michiganders. In preparing your family for what may come, being a sensitive and calming force is essential. Consider the following approaches when talking to and teaching your young ones about stormy weather as we head into spring:
Involve kids in storm preparation: FEMA’s Family Emergency Plan is a great place to start when planning emergency meeting places and who to contact at what time of day. As you walk through it with your family, consider what you would need as an emergency supply kit. You can create a quiz game out of what certain items (e.g., flashlights, first aid kits) are used for which situations, which can make kids more confident once it’s go-time. If they’re old enough, appoint them a “team leader” for a simple task, like making sure all the windows in the house are closed.
Get up close with how storms work: A lot of the time, the anxiety and fear stems from the unknown, a lack of understanding of where the storms come from. As kids grow up and begin exploring how the world works, introducing basic concepts around weather patterns, climates and electricity and help them view the phenomena as less overwhelming. It will also empower them to understand more about the science behind them. Ready.gov dreamed up an educational comic series just for this purpose! Museums like the Michigan Science Center and Impression 5 in Lansing are adventurous options for seeing the wonders in action.
The art of the distraction: No matter how much you may plan and prepare, when the storm clouds roll in, your kids’ bravery can evaporate. Taking their mind off the storm is easier for some than others, but generally, distracting them with music, a movie or a game well away from the windows can help them focus on the family instead of what’s going on outside. Some children may find comfort in talking about the weather and how plants need water to survive, and high winds helping pollenate flowers. The key is to help them find their “safe space,” and being empathetic when they bring up their fears.
Get a recap on how this month, we worked through our biggest storm together →