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Talking to your children about natural disasters

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 31-10-2012

Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest and most dangerous hurricanes to hit the East Coast in decades, has left a trail of destruction from southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey up into New England. And while storms like these can be scary for anyone to deal with, your children may be particularly frightened about the dangers of future occurrences. Here are a few tips for talking to your little ones about natural disasters.

Stay in control
During a crisis, your children will be looking to you to reassure them that they're safe. Because of this, it's your responsibility to remain calm and collected, whether you're potentially in harm's way or not. By keeping your language and actions under control and not showing signs of panic or worry, you'll inspire similar confidence and comfort in your kids.

Don't dismiss their concerns
Just like anyone else, your children are going to be worried about what will happen to themselves and their home during a natural disaster. While you don't want them to freak out, you shouldn't lie to them either. Answer their questions honestly and walk them through both legitimate and unwarranted concerns. Simply saying "don't worry about it" won't be enough.

Beware of the television
TV reporters tend to sensationalize news in order to improve their ratings, which can work impressionable children into a frenzy. Use your best judgment when turning on reports about disastrous weather and the damage they cause. Some children might find this informative, while others could become even more scared.