Teaching your children about severe weather

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With severe weather possible for many parts of East Tennessee, the rumbles of thunder and the flash of lightning can be frightening, especially for young children.

The best advice is to comfort your children so they feel safe, have a plan in place for emergency situations and also teach your kids about weather.

No parent wants their child to be scared and it’s no different for Emily Long. She makes sure her two boys feel safe during a storm. Long lives in Knoxville and she teaches her two boys about what to expect, where to go and what to do when severe weather comes.

“We’ll go into a closet or in some cases, a bathroom if we feel like we need that shell around us. But if we have to evacuate the house, they know to meet across the street, as long as it’s safe,” said Long.

Specialists at the Helen Ross McNabb Center say parents can help their kids by being calm and using safe habits.

“You cuddle with them, you talk to them and reassure them. Give their favorite safety blanket or stuff animal,” said Kristin Bradley, with Helen Ross McNabb. “When you can engage them in play, especially situations like that, it kind of helps them understand the situation, calms that anxiety.”

Understanding what can happen during a storm can also make the weather less intimidating and give your child a sense of control.

Long adds, “Thats one of the biggest fears, especially with my boys, that it’s going to be completely dark and they can’t see. We all know our eyes adjust but at their little age, they just think it’s going to be pitch dark.”

A simple flashflight can provide comfort and having a plan in place for emergencies will prepare your children.

Experts recommend you tell you children to go inside when lightning strikes, don’t stand under trees or large objects and stay out of water. Also, the more you can refocus their thoughts away from the stormy weather, the fewer meltdowns and freak-outs you’ll see.

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