As Hurricane Sandy picks up speed, it’s raised questions about what the coming days will mean for the millions of people caught in the path of its strengthening winds.
In the face of power outages and evacuations along the Atlantic coast, how might Sandy affect children, who may have never weathered a hurricane before — or at least not one of this force?
Hurricane Sandy has so far caused school cancellations in districts across such states as New York, New Jersey and Virginia, and could upend a beloved holiday, Halloween.
But Hurricane Sandy, psychologist Janet Taylor told “Good Morning America” today, could provide a good example for children as to how life can be unpredictable, and all you can do is prepare yourself and your family and hope for the best.
“We have to prepare our kids for the fact that sometimes things don’t happen the way they’re supposed [to],” said Taylor “Being adaptive is also a point of being a parent.”
Below, Taylor offers four tips on how to talk to your children about Hurricane Sandy:
1. Focus on the Facts: “Our kids are hearing words like ‘monster storm’ [and] ‘superstorm.’ Explain to them what a storm surge is,” said Taylor. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’ Look up how hurricanes develop, so that they’re informed and not just afraid.”
2. Monitor Screen Time. “Remember, screen time is not just television. It’s social media, so be aware that your kids are reading Facebook, looking at Twitter and a lot of things that are there may not be accurate and are scaring them.”
3. Empower Your Children Through Preparedness. “Have a preparedness plan and incorporate them into that,” said Taylor. ”Give them some what-ifs because, understand, kids are focused on the big world, but more importantly on what’s happening in their world, and if we can help them establish control by having a safety kit, a preparedness plan, then we can take away some of their anxiety.”
4. Create an Unconventional Halloween. “Have them put their costumes on that day. Hide candy in the house. Invite friends over if you can do that,” said Taylor. “Or, if you have to go to a shelter, say, ‘Listen, we can make our own un-Halloween day, and we can decide.’”