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.