I have seen many posts about getting water and supplies, but none about how to handle the emotional side of experiencing a Hurricane. So, Here you go.
The constant focus on Hurricane news is probably the way most adults handle the stress of the storm, why? We watch because having information, while overwhelming, allows us some sense of control. If we know when and how something is going to happen, we can psychologically prepare for it. This is a key to handling the storm. BUT too much information can be unhealthy. For children, this storm can be even more disturbing. Here are some tips, Kids first.
1. When a child has a question about the storm, answer it honestly and at their level. When my daughter needed to know about flooding and why it is so bad. I used an example of a spilled drink in the carpet, and how it will slosh when you walk on the spot because the carpet can’t absorb all the water.
Answering questions the child has will help reduce potential trauma reactions because they can then predict the effect. Ask your child if they have any questions.
2. Give the child a task to help in completing. Making granola or snack bags, making pallets where everyone can cuddle up and watch a movie. Turn off the news and create a safe event for the whole family.
3. Have some art or writing activities. Have the child write what is happening and how they are responding to it. Have them keep a journal during the storm. LISTEN to your child and give them time to talk out their concerns. Just Listen!
4. Explain what might happen such as power loss and flooding. The more the child can be aware, the less sudden the events will be. Maybe turn off lights and eltronics and use your flashlights and talk about what your family will handle a loss of power. Practicing in a safe time will reduce the stress if it does happen.
5. Have them keep in contact with friends and extended family, they will worry less if they know others are safe.
6. Kids thrive on routine. keep bedtimes the same, and eat at normal times, do some homework or reading when you normally do. Chores need to be kept up as regularly done. Do not make the child’s world an emergency.
1. Cultivate hope. What are the plans for the coming week? Plan for a regular week, even if it looks like it might not be. Do the laundry as you normally would. Hope is vital for you and your family.
2. Limit news, and alerts on the phone. Turn off the emergency and spend some quality time with family. Set a schedule to check in on the storm, but avoid constant alertness. Limit social media.
3. Eat regular meals. Hurricane snacks are ok, but meals are a great emotional comfort.
4. Keep a journal yourself. Write down the questions you have and work to find some answers. Write about what is happening and what that means for you.
5. Talk to the friends and family that are not in your home, it helps to know others are safe.
6. Keep your routines.
7. Have a plan and work your plan.
8. The sun will be out again, and the rain will end. Life goes on after the storm.
9. How you think about the storm and events related to the storm will shape how you feel
10. Turn on music and dance, play your instruments, sing, paint, draw, read, whatever helps you normally cope with daily struggles.
Overall, use the relationships you have to build the strength to cope with the storm, use the skills you normally use to cope with stress. Build in HOPE! Get sleep and good food. Hug lots and draw support and give support.