SPRINGFIELD, Mo. If you're a parent, you know, there are few things worse than watching your kids worry or panic, and severe storms can certainly cause that. But, there are things you can do to keep them, and your whole family, calm and collected during a very scary time.
If severe weather was on the way, hopefully, your whole family would be headed to your safe place. You'd have your weather radio, a bag of supplies... All you parents would be prepared, but would your kids be prepared?
Dr. Joyce Noble is a licensed child psychologist with Mercy, who says a fear of storms is very common in kids. "That can make for a child who really can almost go into a panic about it."
That's, of course, one of the last things a parent wants. But, Noble says there are things you can do to help your little ones, and those should start now, long before a storm hits, "Plans always help people feel more in control, and they help children too."
Your plans should include...
- Where your safe place is
- How you'll all get to your safe place
- Who's getting what (storm kits, the pet, etc...)
- Ways to keep your kids occupied
- Who will do what while you're in your safe place
- Stocking the safe place with supplies beforehand
Also, you need to practice this plan with your kids. Noble says, "Schools have fire drills for a very good reason."
Noble also says having your pets near is critical to easing kids' minds. If your kids are occupied and calm, that's great. But, Doctor Noble says to keep them calm, parents need to be calm too, "If your parent is scared of something, there's probably a good reason."
But with that calm hopeful attitude, she says, we should be honest with our kids about the severity of the situation, "The main thing is, that parents communicate the appropriate level of seriousness, have a hopeful attitude, set the good example by staying calm themselves, and just spending that time with their children working it through."
Here's a list of a few simple things you might want your child to include in their Storm Bag.
- Extra Batteries
- One of Their Favorite Toys
- Bottles of Water
- Coloring or Activity Books
- Deck of Cards
- Puzzle or Small Board Game