Hurricane season can be terrifying, especially for children. Children add a new challenge to hurricane planning and it can be quite difficult to comfort them in the event of a disaster. Here are five tips to help your kids feel more comfortable during a hurricane and some suggestions on what to pack in case of an evacuation.
1. Make sure to include them in evacuation plans
Hurricane season means it is once again time to make and review plans in case of any upcoming storms. Allow your children to be a part of those preparations. If they feel like they are involved, then they will feel like the situation is under control. Allow them to decide what items they would like to bring if evacuation is necessary and what snacks they would want to eat. They should also be aware of what an evacuation would entail for them. Where would they go? What would they be doing?
2. Talk to your kids about hurricanes
Using age-appropriate language lets your kids know and prepare themselves for hurricanes. Inform them of possible outcomes if and when they have to leave their home. It is important to warn children about hurricanes. Explain to them that a hurricane is something that could injure people or cause damage. Talk about the possible things that could be affected by the storm, like the fact that you may have phone and power outages. Inform your kids of the many people who can help them during a disaster, to not be afraid of firemen, policemen, paramedics, or other emergency officials. Kids can sense if you are worried or scared, by keeping calm you will assure your children that everything is under control. By being more prepared, you will make your kids feel more comfortable. Hurricanes are unpredictable, so having more than one plan in place is important.
3. Monitor the news
Before a hurricane hits, news stations may display images from previous storms that can cause senseless fear and worry. Although you need to stay up to date, be aware that the content displayed may cause your child to become overly anxious. Monitor the news to ensure that they will be comfortable with what they are seeing and hearing so it doesn’t cause unnecessary angst.
4. Bring comfort items
Comfort items could be anything from a favorite blanket, favorite toys, and/or favorite games. Make sure that your child packs many of their favorite toys or items that will bring them comfort in case of evacuation. In addition, you could spend significant time on the road so be sure to pack items that keep your children entertained while traveling. Even if you are staying at home, make sure those treasures are readily available so they feel more at ease during the storm.
5. Try to Keep to Their Schedule
Maintain a regular schedule and routine as much as possible. Children feel more comfortable when they keep to a schedule. It can be quite difficult to stick to business as usual, but they should feel as much normalcy as possible in an unusual situation.
What to pack in case of an evacuation:
- Books to read
- Crayons, markers, colored pencils along with paper or coloring books
- Board game, deck of cards, puzzles
- Non-electronic games
- Handheld electronic games, battery-operated DVD players
- Blankets and pillows
- Battery operated fans
- Pictures of family, pets, and/or friends
- Any prized items or little treasures that they may have
- At least a three-day supply of favorite snacks and nonperishable food items. One gallon of water per person per day.
- Enough clothes for at least three days. Make sure to pack extra clothes just in case.
- Disposable wipes
- If applicable diapers, powdered formula, and clean bottles. Make sure to bring at least a full box of diapers and some disposable bags.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap
- First Aid Kit
- Battery-powered phone chargers
- Plastic utensils, paper plates, and cups
- Can opener and plastic bags
Have any additional questions about how to prepare your family for a hurricane? Please download our Hurricane Preparedness Guide and checklist.