How to talk to your kids about the hurricane
By Scholastic on August 26th, 2011
If you live on the East Coast it’s almost impossible to ignore that Hurricane Irene is making its way to us this weekend. While the intense media coverage of the hurricane can be too frightening for kids to consume, anxious kids will have tons of questions for their parents.
Francie Alexander, Scholastic’s Chief Academic Officer, recommends ‘Bibliotherapy’ — books and tips that will help kids learn about hurricanes — for parents to help calm their child’s fears about hurricanes and to give kids just enough of the right kinds of information that will help them feel empowered, stay calm and think ahead.
Many of us may have forgotten the weather science we learned in school (e.g. What causes a hurricane?), and these books can help us to answer the many questions kids have with just the right amount of information that is presented in a kid-friendly way. Here are Francie’s recommendations. (Books are available for New Yorkers at The Scholastic Store in SoHo or online at www.scholasticstore.com)
What’s the Weather – Ages 3+
With lift-the-flaps, pull-tabs, foil, and glitter, What’s the Weather? is a wonderfully fun book that explains what weather is and what causes it to change.
The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane by Joanna Cole & Bruce Degen – Ages 6+
Ms. Frizzle’s class experiences a hurricane-and even a tornado-firsthand.
Easy Make & Learn Projects: Weather by Patricia J. Wynne; Donald M. Silver – Ages 7+
Children can explore the wonders of weather with interactive mini-books, simple text and realistic art.
Weather and Climate Change by Laura Howell – Ages 9+
This dramatically illustrated book explains what causes all the wild, wonderful and sometimes weird weather we experience on Earth every day.
Francie also notes that preparing for the events to come with “bibliotherapy” has an added benefit once the storm hits. If you are stuck without any power, your family can always open the book and read together with a flashlight. You might want to dive deeper into factual information but you should keep a favorite book handy, too.
If you’d like your kids to read more about the hurricane, a great resource is the Scholastic Kids Press Corps, which will be publishing stories from kid reporters living in South Carolina, Atlanta, and Virginia. Our kid reporters will be reporting on the Red Cross’ efforts, ways kids can help their families prepare, the government’s response, and how parents and teachers can talk to kids about the hurricane.
The more we can help kids understand the situation, the less scary it can be for them. When kids see adults preparing for a hurricane and see the scary coverage on TV, getting real facts and information from parents is a source of comfort and confidence for children. It lets them know that the adults around them will take care of them.
Do you have tips you’d like to share with other parents on helping kids cope with natural disasters? Please share it in the comments! (And stay safe this weekend!)
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