You might be worried about losing power. You might be looking forward to gathering around the fireplace. You might be scrambling to reschedule your afternoon meeting or that early Valentine’s dinner date with your spouse. There’s a lot to think about as this blizzard approaches, but don’t forget that your anxious child maybe struggling with irrational and agonizing fears. Follow these tips to help your anxious child through the snowy weekend.
If your anxious child has never experienced a blizzard, be sure to tell her what to expect. Address rational fears like a power outage, but emphasize positives like family time, adventure, and beautiful snow.
Indicate that you and your family will be safe by acting calm and prepared, even if you’re worried about the storm.
Involve your child in your storm preparations. Explain how each action you’re taking will help keep your family safe.
If you lose power, make it an adventure. Play board games in the dark, tell stories by candlelight, or sing songs together.
Shelter your child from sensationalist media.
Avoid using language that indicates or implies that this storm is the worst storm ever or the end of the world or unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Help your anxious child understand that major storms are common and manageable.
If your child was traumatized by Super-Storm Sandy, explicitly explain that this storm will be different.
Ask your child to voice all his fears, and help your child find reasons to dismiss each fear. Be respectful, empathetic, and calm.
Watch for signs of magical thinking. Children who suffer from Obsessive-compulsive Disorder are particularly vulnerable to irrational self-blame regarding catastrophe.
Put safety first. Make sure you have a plan to keep your family warm even if you lose power, and be careful to avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow these blizzard safety rules for kids and parents.
Stay warm this weekend!