You are not alone...
If your child has a fear of storms they are not alone.
Doctor's say a certain amount of fear of storms is normal
and even healthy. It's what keeps us safe.
Create and maintain a home environment which is safe,
secure, and free of serious conflict.
Children from secure homes and families will be better
able to tolerate any stressors, including severe weather.
Knowledge and understanding reduces fear. Begin at an
early age to talk with children about weather. Educate
them about storms, dispel myths, and discuss reasonable
Develop a family weather plan. Allow children to participate
in the planning. It can help them feel more in control
and less helpless.
Have a NOAA weather radio at home. Children will be
comforted by the presence of a warning system. This
works in much the same way as a family dog helps to
ease children's fears of intruders entering the home.
Make efforts to prevent young children from experiencing
frightening weather events. A powerful wind storm, hail,
or lightning can be extremely frightening and can contribute
to the development of excessive fear.
Pay attention to your child's reaction to storms. Allow
children to go to the basement or an interior room during
storms, (or to stay by your side if that's what they
Limit your child's exposure to dramatic television footage
of storms. Some video can be quite frightening.
Parents As Teachers gives the following advice for parents
in times of trauma:
Children's basic needs always remain the same,
even in crises. Remember the importance of routines
-- try to focus on keeping mealtimes and bedtime regular.
Spend quiet time and read before bed each night to
Turn off television and radio when young children
are around. You control the information they need
to have and how it is presented. Young children need
to know very little about trauma and certainly do
not need to hear details repeated over and over.
Answer questions at an age-appropriate level
and reassure children. What they most need to hear
is that the adults around them will take care of and
Try to stay as calm as possible around children.
It is appropriate for children to see adults showing
emotion, but it frightens them to see their parents
losing control. If you feel very emotional, try to
remove yourself briefly until you can calm down.
Children can be very resilient, if they feel
listened to, supported, and taken care of by parents
and caretakers. They are not little adults. They need
to be in a holding environment that fits their developmental
needs, even in times of crises.
Take care of yourself and address your own
needs. This will allow you to take care of your child.
Do not be afraid to seek help for yourself
or your child, if reactions or coping become difficult
to manage. These are unusual circumstances. It is
normal not to have all the answers.
more information about Parents as Teachers, or to find
a parent educator near you, visit their Website at www.patnc.org