Children, particularly young children, will always look to see how parents respond to a situation to gauge what their response should be. If you are ill-prepared and panicking, they are much more likely to panic as well, which could lead to a long-lasting fear of storms and other weather-related events.
The very best thing you can do to prepare your small children for any bad weather scenario is to have a plan for the entire family.
And in our house, the plan is relatively simple:
1) Stay Informed!
Be aware of current weather predictions so any predicted bad weather doesn’t take your family by surprise. For me, this usually means watching the news and weather and tracking any potential storms on radar – but I’m also a bit of a weather nerd.
My wife, on the other hand, hates watching the news on the television. Instead, she follows a local weather station on social media, so she sees any updates appear on her feed, which she checks regularly.
How you stay informed about the weather isn’t important. What matter is that you do.
2) Be Prepared!
Ahead of every storm season, pack a box full of emergency supplies should the worst happen. Keep this box in the room where your family will shelter in when a tornado or major storm warning threatens your home.
What’s in the box? For my family, it contains a spare set of clothes and shoes for everyone, flashlights, batteries for those flashlights, food for my family and the dogs, and a few other essentials. If we know tornadoes are likely in our area, we do add a few things like pillows because it turns out that the bathtub is not all that comfortable when it isn’t full of warm water and bubbles.
The contents of this box should differ depending upon the types of storms that visit your area. If you experience hurricanes, you should have more food and water available for emergencies, as a big storm could knock out power for an extended amount of time.
3) Be Ready!
Now that you’re informed and have your supplies handy, you can prepare your children for any bad weather by practicing your plan. It looks something like this:
- Announce the mock event.
- We take our son into the bathroom, place him in the bathtub, and put a helmet on him.
- My wife gets the dogs.
- I grab a few other essentials to supplement our emergency kit.
- We then shut the door.
If this were a real storm, the sirens in our neighborhood would go off, warning people outside to take shelter from bad storms (especially tornadoes). Since my family can hear the sirens from inside our house, our son knows what to do if they go off, since we do the same thing every single time. We will also check the websites and social media feeds for local radio stations and news sites to know when the threat has passed.
What Matters Most
Experience tells us we probably don’t need to take such extreme shelter in most instances, but this established routine is now completely comfortable and a habitual for my small son. Besides, small children thrive on routine and predictability, so take advantage of this when preparing your family for any bad weather.
Because we’re informed, prepared, and ready, our family will be calm and safe and do exactly what is needed in a true emergency.
The weather threats may be slightly different in your area – you might see flash flooding instead of tornadoes, for example – but no matter the situation, above points still hold true, you just need to adapt them to your situation.