Keeping Kids Safe & Calm During Summer Storms
Every kid is different. I can tell you that. Of my six kids, most of them like a good storm (like me, who grew up singing “I Love a Rainy Night” with Eddie Rabbit). There might be a couple who actually don’t like storms and get a little afraid, especially of severe weather. Luckily, our family has never had to “survive” a big natural disaster like flooding, wildfire or hurricane. We do live in an area of the country which does get hit with hurricanes and an occasional tornado, so my more frightened kids need some special attention.
Here are a few ways you can keep kids in your care safe during the stormy season:
- Be prepared. How? Watch the news to know when storms may strike and plan accordingly. Like, don’t plan an afternoon boating or a picnic at the beach when severe thunderstorms are in the forecast. Plan to be home, not on the road (but gas up the car when you grab supplies). If you have to drive, stay below 40mph and allow extra time. Charge your cell phone or other device. Be ready for power outages too.
- Gather supplies. Yes, I do mean an emergency supply kit. I actually suggest two: one larger, more inclusive set of supplies for your home or apartment and a second, smaller set of supplies kept in a backpack, maybe even in the car. Lots of websites have suggested lists of items to include. I say keep it basic to medications needed, water, portable food (like granola bars or even nuts and raisins), blanket(s), flashlight with batteries, maybe a car charger for your phone and any baby stuff (diapers, wipes, etc). Make sure your Nanny or sitter knows where you keep it should a storm hit while he or she has your kids.
- Prepare the kids. Tell them it may get stormy and have them gather toys from the yard and bring bikes and chairs under cover. It shouldn’t be a party but shouldn’t be urgent either. Tell kids what to expect, like hail or thunder and lightning. Let them know there is nothing to fear and you will be there the whole time. Don’t give too many details that might scare kids unnecessarily, but be ready to give emergency instructions if needed.
- Keep calm. You are the adult. You are the role model. Try to keep your cool because if the kids see their adult panic, they are sure to fall apart. Usually, storms are more loud than dangerous, but if there is danger, just lead the kids to the safest place (usually the basement) and comfort their fears with reassuring words. If you need, call for help from neighbors, police or fire departments.
One of the things people often do is underestimate the power of nature. Don’t lead kids into danger by going down by the beach to watch the waves during a storm. Sitting in a window during a lightning storm is not recommended. However, let kids see and understand the power of nature and you might even spark a lifelong interest or even career. When forecasters predict a storm, don’t ignore them. It will be just fine if they are wrong, but err on the side of caution when it comes to pop-up storms with lightning, hail and more.