OK Kids, Batten Down the Hatches! Sandy Is On Her Way
The storm panic hit my No Frills early this morning and there was a run on bottled water, Halloween candy and Decadent chocolate chip cookies.
Even by 11 a.m. the line-ups were long and I was totally humiliated to be buying a two-litre jug of water as the law in our house is no bottled water! But my husband was insistent that we had some and we decided that filling up the bathtub was one step too far into paranoia.
As an adult, it is scary -- I can only imagine how all this talk of hurricanes and Frankenstorm feels to kids. What is the appropriate level of anxiety in response to all this "storm porn"?
My kids relate every environmental disaster to the earthquake in Haiti -- which obviously affected them greatly. Common questions are: Will it be like Haiti? Will we/they lose our house?
Here are some tips for talking about the hurricane (these are the kind of tips that can be used for every difficult situation):
Start With The Facts: Explain the science behind hurricanes, and how they can quickly dissipate. Do not be afraid to talk about the reality of the situation. Kids already know what is going on. If you have relatives in New York or on the Eastern Seaboard tell the kids all the things that they are doing to stay safe. Check out WeatherWizKids for a hurricane explanation.
Don't Freak Out If You Lose Power: One of our family's best memories is lying in my bed watching a lightning storm when the power was out. Look at it as an opportunity for bonding and a chance to eat your way through the freezer. The power will come back on eventually, so enjoy the work-free time.
Find Out Their Fears: This is not always obvious. Kids are not logical so they may be scared for their teacher or grandma or that the squirrels will get hurt. Address their fears head-on. Don't be afraid to say you don't know, but be calm, supportive and listen.
Turn Off the TV: The constant images on repeat can be confusing for children who may think that it is different events occurring over and over. Also, watching the reporters in the middle of a storm can produce anxiety (for me at least!). The need for news means the stations may be making a bigger deal of the dangers than they need to.
Focus On What Works: If trees knock out power, it can be fixed. If there is flooding in the basement, it will be cleaned up. We have systems that work in our society, but it is just a question of when.
Have Fun: It's kind of nice to bunker down together and have some down time.
I absolutely love the Hurricane Kit that Sesame Street has on their site. The tips are very thoughtful. Augghh! My power just flickered! Yikes. What did I say about staying calm??
How about you? Did you prepare for the storm? Have you talked to your kids about Hurricane Sandy?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about the toxins in baby shampoo. Did you switch?