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In this week’s Hurricane segment, we would like to talk about how to prepare children for a hurricane. You’ve already covered all of the basic preparations in terms of reinforcing your home and stocking up on emergency supplies, but there’s another thing you must do; prepare your child for a Hurricane.
Hurricanes can create intense mental and emotional stress on adults and this effect is compounded for children, leading to anxiety, stress, panic and paranoia.
With this blog, we’ve provided some ideas to help prepare your child for an on-coming Hurricane.
1. Practice evacuation drills – Once you’ve created a sound evacuation plan, practise it with your children. One time is definitely not enough; practise until you are sure they feel comfortable enough to execute it should an evacuation be required. During these evacuation drills, use alternate scenarios to ensure that they are prepared for the unexpected.
2. Limited access to media – Media outlets may sensationalize or provide inaccurate information regarding hurricanes and storms. Even the mildest of tropical waves can easily be sensationalized and this can cause unwarranted panic and fear for your child.
3. Maintain routines – Children, particularly young children, are accustomed to routines and this brings them comfort and security. The slightest change in such routines can be noticed by them and may lead to worrying and discomfort. Try to maintain your routine as closely as possible while under hurricane-watch to keep your child comfortable and focused on day-to-day tasks.
4. Talk to your children – You may become so engrossed in preparations for a hurricane or you may feel that children are too young to understand the dangers of a hurricane that you ignore one crucial aspect of preparation; talking to your children and hearing how they feel. Some children are not as vocal as others and may require coaxing before they can tell you how they feel. Take the time to be a parent and listen and speak with your children; let them express their concerns and fears.Do your best to explain to them that you do have a plan to keep them safe and everything will be ok.
5. Monitor your children (Post-Hurricane) – Hurricanes can be traumatic events, particularly severe ones. It is important that you be cognizant of your children’s behaviour after a hurricane. This includes fearfulness, change in sleeping patterns, different eating habits, and lower levels of attentiveness and engagement. If you notice any signs of changes directly after a hurricane, you should consider seeking professional help and counselling for your children.
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We hope that this was helpful in you helping to prepare your children for a hurricane. Thank you for reading this week’s article and we’ll see you again next week!