Summer and storms: suggestions on how to cope with your children’s fears!
When we think about the summer, we always think of hot, sunny days, but maybe we are forgetting another climatic characteristic of summer which are the heavy storms.
An atmospheric phenomenon that comes with lightning, wind and rain, ready to change our day from one moment to the next.
And at home, during a storm, it’s always the same story “Mum, I’m really scared!”
This atmospheric instability can often distress our little ones, making them scared, feeling anxious that something bad might happen and just generally unsettling them. The sound of thunder can really upset them but for them the biggest fear is that of being left alone, without their mum and their dad against this unknown and scary element.
What can you do if your children are terrorised by the storm?
Make them understand that you are close to them! Always remember that your children need to feel your presence, but also your understanding and reassurance. The relationship with parents is fundamental not only in handling fear but also in making sure it doesn’t turn into a phobia.
If your little one is still too young, try and hug them, cuddle them, reassuring and comforting them, respecting the fear and remembering that they are still children and they can’t rationalise things like adults can.
And what if your children are a little older?
You can try and make them talk to you about their fears and impressions. You could try and tell them that even you when you were a child, you used to be afraid of storms too, making them understand that everyone, even adults, can have these emotions and these sensations.
So, what should you do?
With all children (of all ages) always try and be sensitive and patient, accepting and respecting all their emotions.
All the fears that children express are legitimate and full of meaning: in order forchildren to trust us, we have to respect them, always, even if their emotions may seem absurd and irrational to us.
Here is a small guide that you can follow during a storm to help your children and calm them down:
- Hug them, reassure them, comfort them, respect their fear.
- Avoid trying to rationally convince them that there is nothing to be afraid of: it’s no good and they will feel misunderstood because they are terrorised.
- Play some relaxing music, turn on the lights, tell them a story.
- Try and invent some strategies to protect them from their fear. By doing this even a moment of fear could become a game!
Dear mums and dads, your job is to make them feel safe, in spite of their anxiety.
Only by doing this will they gradually learn to handle and control not only their worries but also their emotions; This will help them to feel more secure about themselves and the world that surrounds them, day by day, but also to learn and face the external reality, whether good or bad.