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June 30th, 2021

Weathering Summer Storms Together

To your children, you are the biggest, baddest, bravest person on the planet! You are the magical keeper of the knowledge that everything is going to be ok, no matter what. So when something pops up that’s even bigger than you are, like a sometimes-scary summer storm, little ones can feel especially vulnerable. This week, Wonder Bunch has put together some tips, tricks, and hacks to help you comfort your sweet little ones when the weather gets scary.

Rain Rain, Go Away!

Summer storms look different from coast to coast, state to state, and year to year. When we talk about summer storms, we might be talking about a particularly thunderous lightning storm, tornado watches, or even hurricanes. Helping your children understand what kind of weather they can expect in the region where you are living or visiting is the first step toward empowering them to face down any storm.

Kid Weather App is a fun, informative app created by a six-year-old and his dad (who happens to be a meteorologist!) to help other children understand the weather, choose an appropriate OOTD, and anticipate upcoming storms.

Fun Learning For Kids has a great list of books to teach children about thunderstorms! Be sure to head to your local library and browse their selection of fun, informative, and empowering books about the weather to help your little learners grasp what a storm is and how to be safe. The more tools they have to understand weather changes, why they happen, and when they might strike gives children the power to prepare instead of feel scared.

Action Plan

Some severe weather is scarier than others, and requires a well thought-out and practiced action plan. Those living in states that experience tornados often have a plan that includes going to the basement or bathroom, grabbing flashlights or candles, and keeping a radio stocked with batteries just in case. Families in hurricane states might have an evacuation plan in place, with a backup plan of simply seeking higher ground. If earthquakes are your state’s biggest threat, children are often drilled on where to stand in case of a quake. In any case, it’s best to talk these things out on a sunny day, and to practice them before an emergency strikes.

It’s also important to keep a few essentials on hand, just in case. We aren’t talking full Doomsday Prepper bunker, but a few gallons of water, flashlights, spare batteries, and some canned goods can literally be a lifesaver.

Lighten Up!

When children are afraid, they want to feel any kind of control they can get their hands on. If they’re sitting in the dark, those fears are just going to grow. Find battery-operated lanterns, fun flashlights, and neat night lights to brighten the mood, literally. When kids can see their surroundings, they feel more grounded, and instantly safer.

Weight For It

While they need light to feel in control, they need weight to feel secure. Their favorite place is likely in a parent or sibling’s arms, and a cuddle is probably in order for everyone on a stormy night anyway. Be sure to take some time and snuggle down, especially if it’s the first big storm they can remember. Helping them feel safe early on sets the stage for a lifetime of security!

If you aren’t able to sit tight all night, consider investing in a great weighted blanket for especially hard or high-anxiety nights. Sensory blankets are great for any child who likes a fidget, faces anxiety, or struggles sleeping on stormy nights.

Celebrate it!

There is a saying that goes “If you choose not to find joy in the snow you will have less joy in your life, but the same amount of snow”
You could say the same of rain, thunder, and lightning. So maybe it’s a good time to embrace it! Creating a rainy-day ritual with your little ones can help change their attitudes around scary weather. If you always make tea or hot chocolate when storms hit, your little ones will be grabbing the marshmallows at the first sign of clouds. If you have a special snuggly blanket that only comes out in a storm, they might already have a book picked out and a place claimed on the couch for a snuggle before the first drops fall. Soon, you’ll find that the big scary storm is a source of excitement for your kids, who see it as an opportunity to lock down some solid snuggles and memory making time!

Furry Friends Need Support, Too!

Not especially surprising, pets require pretty much the same things your children do during a storm. A calm voice, a safe space, treats and comfort. The biggest difference is that you can’t explain storms to your pet, and they’ll never grow out of this phase with better understanding. If you have an especially anxious breed, consider looking into Thunder Vests to help your pets weather the storm.

Take Care of Yourself

Anxiety about the weather isn’t a little-people problem. If you struggle during extreme weather, be sure you’re taking the space you need before interacting with anxious children. If you are at your limit, you need to respect that and take some time to address your own feelings before you take on the role of family comforter. Give them some screen time and take a few minutes to yourself. Read about the storm so that you can feel better prepared, and take some deep breaths. You’ve always done your best work with a cool head!

Do you have any tips that help your family weather summer storms? Drop us a comment on our Facebook or Instagram to share with other parents just like you!