Tips For Easing Storm Anxiety In Children
TULSA, Oklahoma - Many people feel powerless during severe storms, and for some children - rain can make them feel nervous and scared.
“It was loud,” says 8-year-old Broden. “I just heard a thump, thump, thump and a tornado was there.”
Broden was at church with his dad when an EF-2 tornado barreled through Claremore nearly three years ago.
Broden says, “I was shaking a little, but I was like what just happened.”
He survived Mother Nature's wrath, but behind his sweet smile and his nervous giggle there is a constant fear.
“I'm really afraid, so I'm trying to get over that,” Broden says.
Hoping to ease his anxiety, Broden's parents brought him to News On 6. Travis showed him all around the weather center, pointing out all the tools we use to keep families safe and ahead of severe storms.
“Giving them the information often causes them to be less anxious. Knowledge is power,” says psychologist Doctor Leslie Barnes.
She says she's treating more and more children with weather-related anxiety that can stem from a personal experience with bad weather, from hearing their friends talk about storms or watching severe weather coverage on television.
“They can have very irrational, what we call catastrophic thoughts about things,” says Barnes. “They may think they'll lose their home they may lose family members.”
She says parents can ease their child's fears by reminding them they're safe.
Barnes says it's also a good idea to have a severe weather plan for home and practice it.
“Kids learn better and remember better when they actually act something out or role play something,” she says.
For older kids who may be home alone when storms roll in, Dr. Barnes suggests having someone they can call who will answer immediately or arrange for them to go to a neighbors.