5 tips to keep your children calm during a tornado
Making it through a tornado is hard for everyone, but if you have a family you know how frightening these storms can be for children, especially the very young. While a tornado is usually a quick event, some can last an hour or more, and all require planning to help make this difficult time go as smoothly as possible. Use these tips from Supercell Shelters to help you make a plan to keep your children safe, distracted, and as calm as possible during a tornado or another natural disaster.
1. Avoid watching or listening to news coverage of storms.
A tornado is a frightening enough event when you’re in the thick of it; viewing ongoing coverage of nearby storm damage or clips from a different storm before, during, or even after the event are sure to intensify an atmosphere of fear. Instead, if you still have electricity, turn on a neutral channel (without jarring “tornado alert” banners and sounds) to provide a distraction; if this is not possible, try tuning the radio to a station that is not reporting on the event, or better yet a children’s station or music.
2. Have a Kid’s Tornado Kit
Along with your normal survival kit, make sure to have packed a kit especially for your children (and pets!) to help them stay distracted and comfortable during the tornado, especially if it’s safest to wait in a shelter for a longer period of time. Children’s blankets, coloring books, crayons and colored pencils, a book or two, and their favorite foods, activities, and even stuffed animals will help make your children’s’ stay in a Supercell Shelter a more comfortable and familiar one.
3. Stay calm
Help your children to understand that you feel safe and prepared for the storm, and that they, too, will be just fine. Children usually watch their parents’ reactions to understand a situation, so acting as normally as possible and keeping a calm demeanor will ensure that your children are reassured.
4.Maintain routines, expectations, and family rules
Children feel more secure with routines and structure, so sticking with your family’s everyday routine as much as possible will help maintain calm and lessen anxiety. Eating meals at the same time as usual and completing other daily rites – such as story time, snack time, or nightly hygiene habits – help children to feel like the situation is under control. Be sure to stick to family rules about respect for others and good behavior as well.
5. Help your children to understand tornados
If your children are old enough, take the time before a tornado is imminent to help them understand the natural disaster. Using an age-appropriate book, help your kids to read a basic scientific explanation of how a tornado works and what to do to prepare, and explain your own family’s preparation plan. Understanding what’s going on during a tornado may help assuage some children’s fears about this frightening time.
A storm shelter or safe room is by far the best way to protect your family during tornados or other dangerous storms. FEMA recommendations call for families in areas prone to tornados to install an in-ground or above-ground shelter on their property. Our shelters are surprisingly affordable, with options to suit every family’s needs. Be prepared, and arm yourself with a Supercell Shelter.