This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Children Services Council of Palm Beach County for Hurricanes for Kids: How to Keep Them Calm. The opinions and text are all mine.
With the 1st anniversary of Hurricane Irma this month I started to reflect on our evacuation adventure and just how lucky we were. Three days before Irma was expected to hit I woke up at 4am after a nightmare where I was huddled in my closet (our safe room) with Kurt, B and our puppy. In the middle of the storm part of our roof started to rip off. I woke up and started to think what we would do if that happened. Would we swim out of our house? What is there were downed powerlines?
I quickly woke Kurt up and asked him to start packing the car. We packed everything we could and got into the car with no idea where we were going except North. We are so lucky to have incredible friends who took us in even though they had already taken in two other families who also evacuated from South Florida. After 26 hours of driving (and sweet moments like this with B and her puppy) we made it to Louisiana and had the best hurricane vacation ever.
Hurricanes for Kids: How to Keep Them Calm
The storm changed it path just before landfall reminding everyone that storms are unpredictable, so you need to be prepared. It is amazing how having a child totally changes your perspective on hurricane season. As a kid and even young adult hurricane season means days off from school and hurricane parties. As a parent hurricane season has new pressure. Now on top of Hurricane Prep like securing your property you need to think about your kids and how stressful hurricanes can be for your kids too. Hurricane season is June 1 - November 30 so now is a great time to have all the resources ready in case of a storm. So, this morning I opened up the EveryParent App (the same app I shared with you with my Back to School Tips for Parents) to see if there was anything that we needed to add to our Hurricane Prep list.
I found a great article on the EveryParent App with 7 helpful tips to ease some of the fear and anxiety your kids may be feeling as you prepare for an approaching hurricane.
Children feed on your energy. If they see you panicking they may panic too.
Be on the lookout for signs of anxiety. They may show up in ways that you never expected like:
- Stomach or headaches
- Dizziness, shakiness, tightening of the chest, butterflies and even sweaty hands
- Issues sleeping, irritability or changes in eating patterns.
- Even being forgetful
If you notice any of these symptoms you can remind your kids that these feeling are normal, and adults feels this way too.
Part of the added stress for kids is that they may not understand what is going on around them. They may see everyone running around and shelves empty at the grocery store which can be unnerving. Explaining to them in simple terms is the best idea. Also leave time to answer any questions.
Let Them Help
Keep kids in the loop of what is going on. Share your prep work list with them. And let them know what might happen during the storm. There will be lots of rain and we may lose power. Make sure your flashlights with extra batteries in case the power does go out. Get everyone including your kids involved in your hurricane prep. They can help you stock up your hurricane supplies or help put up your shutters. B loves to be in charge of passing us the smaller parts and bringing us water. Once your prep is over work to keep your routine as normal as possible. Kids love routine and it will help reduce anxiety during storms.
During the Storm, Try Distraction
When the storm hit have kids help pick out their favorite games like puzzles, board games and stuff to make forts. Let kids know you are there to answer any questions.
If you feel the stress level increasing breathing exercises. An easy way to do breathing exercises is to pretend you have a flower and a candle. First pretend to smell your flower. Hold your breath for three seconds. Then pretend to blow out the candle.
Don’t forget to download the EveryParent App so you have information like this at your fingertips.