Hurricane Irma is coming, and people are having different reactions. Some people are in a panic and trying to buy every bottle of water in town, and some people are scoffing and not doing anything at all. We think somewhere in the middle is best, be prepared for the worst, expect the best, but what are our children thinking?
Little people might be confused by everything going on, so how do we handle it?
The beloved Mr. Rogers has some great advice.
- Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
- Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
- Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
- Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on familiar patterns of everyday life.
- Plan something that you and your child can enjoy together, like taking a walk or going on a picnic, having some quiet time together or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, both in good times and in bad.
- Even if children don't mention what they've seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don't bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
- Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics and volunteers. It's reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help in this world.
- Let your child know if you're making a donation or going to a meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children know that adults take many different active roles...and that we don't give in to helplessness in time of crisis.
If you have children, we really recommend reading the full article from PBS: