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Helping Children During the Threat of a Hurricane

The threat of a hurricane may bring back memories of Hurricane Andrew. Although each child's reaction to a hurricane is unique, there are some common ways children respond to stress. Most children have a negative reaction to the threat of a hurricane. This reaction will gradually disappear with your help. Here's some advice on helping your children during the hurricane season:

Step 1: Remember that children need to talk about their anxieties. This process of talking will help them work out their feelings.

Step 2: Give children clear information on what is happening and what could happen (within reason and considering their age). Knowing that you understand the situation will ease their feelings.

Step 3: Involve your children in the family's hurricane preparation. Also, allow your child to have his or her own flashlight in order to give him or her a sense of control.

Step 4: Take your children's feelings seriously and reassure them often. Be patient with them.

Step 5: Younger children need to work out their fears while playing. Try to help them through this process with comments like, "That tower made a lot of noise when it fell down, didn't it?" or "That baby is sad, isn't she?".

Step 6: Gently tell your children that sometimes life can be hard, but reassure them that the family is safe and together.

Step 7: If the children are afraid of separating from their family and of going to school or child care, give them something that will comfort them such as a toy or picture.

Step 8: Try to keep children as close to their daily routine as possible. Routine is what gives children security and a sense of normalcy.

Step 9: Children sometimes tend to think that it is their fault if something goes wrong. Be sure they understand they are not at fault.

Step 10: Tell children bedtime stories with happy, safe endings.

Step 11: Repeat all these tips over and over again. It takes time and patience to make children feel secure.

Copyright Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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