Many children experience fear and anxiety when a storm strikes. Even the sight of an oncoming storm or the sound of an alarm can cause your child to feel unsettled.
If your child has developed a fear of storms, there are things you can do to help them process their emotions. But keep in mind, some children may develop a phobia of storms after experiencing a frightening situation. Seek professional help from a doctor or counselor if, after some time, your child is still very anxious, has trouble sleeping or shows other signs of stress.
Here are tips to help you navigate a storm with a child who is scared of storms.
How to Help a Child During a Severe Storm
How you act during a severe storm can have a big impact on your child’s anxiety and fear. As the storm passes through, follow these steps to help calm your child’s fear of the storm.
- Keep the family together. Even though family members may be safe in the homes of relatives or friends during a storm, children may worry if the family is divided.
- Provide extra comfort. Reassure your child that they are safe and that you are there to take care of them.
- Review safety steps. Talk through the safety precautions you have in place as you are waiting out the storm. Knowing you have planned and prepared for the storm can help your child feel safe.
- Talk about their fears. Encourage your child to talk about their fear and ask questions about anything they don’t understand.
- Explain what’s next. It’s helpful to explain what may happen next, especially if there is a possibility of severe damage due to a storm.
How to Help a Child Scared of Thunderstorms
It’s not uncommon for kids to be afraid of thunderstorms. Even though thunderstorms aren’t dangerous, they create loud noise that can be scary to children.
If your child or toddler is afraid of thunder, one of the best things you can do is teach them about it. Try reading children’s books about fear and thunderstorms to show them they’re not alone in their fear and to help them understand why they don’t need 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 these fun facts about thunderstorms:
- Thunder is the sound caused by lightning.
- Light travels faster than sound, so we see lightning before we hear thunder.
- The closer you are to the lightning, the shorter the amount of time between the thunder and lightning.
- Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year.
- You can hear thunder up to 15 miles away.
What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of Tornadoes
If your child is afraid of tornadoes, it can be helpful to talk 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 help them feel safe.
How to Help Children After a Severe Storm
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 talk 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.
If the storm caused widespread damage in your community, get children involved in the recovery process. There are many tasks children can help with while still being safe, and their participation can help them to feel proud of their accomplishments. As everyone works together, it can give children a feeling of solidarity with their family and community members.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Severe storms are often unpredictable, but having the right insurance coverage is one of the best things you can do to protect your home and family. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent to make sure you have the right coverage for every occasion.