When a storm strikes or fire destroys a home, children may have fears and anxieties that last well past the time it takes to repair the home or replace possessions. Children often develop fear and anxiety of alarms, storm clouds and even the sight of an oncoming storm.
If your child has developed a fear of storms, there are things you can do to help them process their emotions. Here are some tips to help you deal with childhood anxiety about storms.
Going Through a Severe Storm with a Child
How you handle severe weather as it is happening can have a big impact on your child’s future anxiety and fear of the situation. As the storm passes through, follow these steps to help your child have a calm experience:
As adults, we know that tornadoes can be a devastating natural disaster for communities and families. However, they are rare in most locations, and damage and injury can often be minimized by preparing properly.
If your child is afraid of tornadoes, it can be helpful to walk them through the specifics of this type of storm. Teach them about how tornadoes form and how you, as the parent, are preparing to protect them and your home. This reassures them that you are there to take care of them and can go a long way.
Never belittle the fear; always recognize the fear is real. For example, a fear of storm clouds may seem trivial to you, but it’s very real to a child. Encouraging children to talk about their fears can help minimize them.
Easing Your Child’s Fear of Wildfires
Wildfires are a destructive natural disaster that can cause anxiety for children. If your child is afraid of a house or wildfire, tell them about the safety precautions you have in place, just in case a fire occurs.
How to Help Children Cope After a Natural Disaster
Pay Attention to Their Age
Kids ages 7 through 12 often have fears that reflect real circumstances that may happen to them, such as severe storms. At this age, it’s important to listen to their fears and be honest with them about the situations of which they are afraid. Be honest with them about natural disasters, but limit their exposure to dramatic news coverage or movies, as this can increase their fear and anxiety.
For more information about how to help children at any age cope with fears about storms, check out the Ready.gov website. You’ll learn the best ways to help your child cope with their fears and anxieties.
Phobia of Storms
Some children may develop a phobia of storms after experiencing a scary situation. Seek professional help from a doctor or counselor if, after some time, your child still is very anxious, has trouble sleeping or shows other signs of stress.
What to Do If Your Child Is Afraid of Thunderstorms
In addition to the tips above, if your child is dealing with a fear of thunderstorms, one of the best things you can do is teach your child about them. Try reading children’s books about fear and thunderstorms to show them they’re not the only ones who fear storms and that you don’t have to be afraid.
If the storm is calm enough, your child may be open to watching the storm and learning more about it. This is the perfect opportunity to share some fun facts about thunderstorms!
Thunderstorm Facts for Kids
What Causes a Thunderstorm?
Thunderstorms typically occur in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours, although they can occur anytime if the conditions are right. Thunderstorms form when there is moisture, unstable air and something forcing the air to rise.
Thunderstorm Fun Facts
If you know a child who fears thunderstorms, share these fun facts that let them know that thunderstorms aren’t something to be feared; they’re actually an interesting weather phenomenon!