Not only are hurricanes scary for young children, but they are also dangerous. If you live in a hurricane-heavy area, preparing your kids for what may happen during the storm and after can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as keep them safe.
Talk to your kids to reduce their fears. They should know what to expect and how to react in the event of an emergency.
Preparing for the Hurricane
Use language your child can understand and explain what hurricanes are, and what can happen in the event that a hurricane hits your area. Be sure to have an emergency plan in place, along with an evacuation plan and meeting location. Tell the kids that their safety is your first priority, and it should be theirs as well.
Establish evacuation drills and practice the drill with them. Practice should include different scenarios about what they should do at home, at school, or places you frequently visit.
Be ready to act, and be sure your children know what that means. This can be both a fun activity for the kids, as well as, a life-saving activity. At a minimum, if your child knows what to do, their level of stress and anxiety will go down.
Hurricane Severity & Preparedness
If a hurricane watch is put in place, you’ll know that there will likely be a hurricane threat within the next 48 hours. Hurricane warnings occur when the storm is expected in 36 hours or less, and tropical storm statements or hurricane statements are issued every two to three hours when impending hurricanes could affect your area.
If you are instructed to evacuate, do so immediately. If a watch or warning has been issued, pack a go-bag for your children and each member of the family. Being prepared before the storm with needed medications and comfort items such as a stuffed animal or their favorite blanket can go a long way to keeping them calm during evacuation.
Be sure to put an emergency contact card in your child’s bag and have one they can carry with them in the event of an emergency. Include the child’s name, as well as at least three emergency contacts, including at least one person that is outside of the affected area. If you become separated from your child during a hurricane, this will give responders a way to identify your child and contact you or other people you trust.