It’s the time of year when snow is behind us and sunny beach days are just around the corner. This time of the season usually means a lot of unpredictable weather, lots of rain and thunderstorms.
There are a lot of people who love the calmness that can come with watching and hearing the rain drops, wind, thunder and, lightening. It’s a pretty magical thing that happens in nature and it’s pretty powerful too. Along with those who love the thunderstorms are many who have fears and anxiety every time the weather person calls for a potential thunderstorm. I am one of those people who, if I’m safe in my home with all my kids and husband, find them calming — but if everyone is not tucked safely at home, anxiety builds up fast.
According to Very Well, the fear of thunderstorms, also called astraphobia, is a common thing in children and can be seen as a normal development for children as they begin to understand the world. It can persist and develop into a true phobia and when that happens, it’s not fun to see as a parent.
My son Speed has this anxiety and fear and it happens with large wind and thunderstorms. He has always been a little leery of the unknown and unpredictable weather, but his fears and anxiety seems to grow each year. We have been doing what we can to help minimize the fear of storms for him and already I am seeing some improvements.
Here are 8 tips to help calm your child’s fear of the thunderstorm and all measure we’ve been doing to help the fear and anxiety my kids have this time of year:
LEARN ABOUT THE STORMS
Go to your local library and learn what you can about storms, thunder and lightening. Oftentimes fears com from the unknown and educating your child on the more scientific side of storms can help ease their fears. My son was happier to know why they were so loud and what the lightening really was.
READ BOOKS ABOUT OTHER’S FEARS
There are a lot of good kid’s books that talk about common fears and thunderstorms too. Reading to your child is a good way to show them that they’re not the only ones who find the storms intimidating and can show them that you don’t have to be afraid.
One of our favorites is Franklin And The Thunderstorm, which you can buy from Amazon.
Get away from the windows and move your child’s attention to something else. Pop in a movie, have a mini dance party or listen to some calming music. Helping them to stay away from watching constantly and focus their ears and eyes on something more fun can help ease that anxiety.
WATCH THE STORM
Take your child to the window and wonder at the coolness of the storm together. Watch it and talk about why it’s important for the trees and grass to have rain, and go over that you’re safe in your home and it can be peaceful. Keep the viewing short at first and gradually build up to watching longer and longer, watching for cues that it may be time to go on to the distraction method.
MAKE IT FUN
Turn the thunderstorms into an excuse to start a tradition. Bust out the flashlights, marshmallows and make a living room picnic in the dark. Put on the same movie and give your child something to look forward to with every thunderstorm instead of fear.
FIND A SAFE SPACE
Let your child be comforted in your arms with their favorite blanket, or maybe they prefer to hang out in the basement. Giving them a sense of safety can be really helpful in the earlier stages in their fear.
TURN OFF THE TV
While weather bulletins are important to know what’s going on, sometimes the constant updates can increase a child’s fear. I know for me, I can’t stand hearing them over and over. So turn off the TV and the radio and distract them with something less stressful.
LISTEN TO YOUR KIDS
Even if thunderstorms are your favorite thing in the world and you love watching them, that doesn’t mean everyone does. Take the time to listen to your child’s fear, take it seriously and don’t tell them that it’s “silly” or “not something to worry about.” The more you listen to what they’re saying, the easier it will be to help them along.