Hurricane season in South Florida generally starts from the 1st of June until the end of November and for parents, with preschoolers, it can be a terrifying time, especially if your little ones don’t understand what’s happening. It’s important that you teach your children about hurricanes and what they should do.
Teaching safety to pre-schoolers is vital, parents need to assist teachers by ensuring that their children are aware of basic safety tips. It’s important that you get involved in helping your child understand what a hurricane is as well as what to do before and during a hurricane. This will help keep them safe.
Children fear things that they don’t understand. This is why you need to teach them about hurricanes and how they work. This helps lessen their fear around the “unknown”. This also gives your child a sense of control as they know what is happening.
You should always talk to your pre-schoolers about hurricanes. Explain what it is in an easy to understand manner and what could happen when a hurricane passes by. For example, you could tell your child that “A hurricane is a big storm with very strong winds, rain, lightning, and thunder. A hurricane can cause serious damage to things outside as the wind is really strong. It’s even strong enough to move a car”.
Things You Should Do with Your Child Before A Hurricane
There is a range of things you need to do ahead of time with your child. You need to get them used to the idea of doing certain things when a hurricane occurs so that they don’t panic when the time comes
Try to do a variety of evacuation drills. Make sure your children understand what they need to do. Your children will also need to understand that the evacuation plan may be different in different places such as their grandparents’ home. Also make sure that they understand that their school plan may be different, but that they should always listen to their teacher.
Pre-Packed BagsAlways have one backpack ready in the event of a hurricane. Basic items such as a bottle of water, sealed snacks, a change of clothing and any medication should be in this bag. Ask your child what they would like to include in the bag or take note of a special toy or item that must be taken with. The special toy or item will be used to help keep your child calm in an unfamiliar environment.
An “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) card will be a lifesaver for your child, especially if you are accidentally separated. You should ideally have multiple copies of an ICE card in the pre-packed bags and one always on your child. Make sure that you laminate the cards so that they don’t get damaged if wet.
What to Do During A Hurricane
Make sure that your child understands the importance of listening to the adult in charge. They need to follow the evacuation plan taught in the evacuation drills and calmly follow any given instructions.
If there have been no evacuation notices or you are unable to leave your home. You and your child need to stay indoors and away from windows, doors and even skylights. These are potential points of entry for violent winds. Your child should stay inside until given the all-clear to leave, as post-hurricane hazards are an issue. Post-hurricane hazards include but are not limited to fallen trees and live electrical wiring.
Children are highly intuitive and will pick up on your moods. You are your child’s role model. You cannot panic or your children will panic as well. Be a positive influence on your child during this scary time.
At Providence Children’s Academy, we take safety seriously – we encourage families to talk to their children about hurricanes and to be prepared in the event of one happening.