In Florida, hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. This can be a stressful time for kids and teens. Hearing about destruction from wind and rain, listening to parents create evacuation plans, or knowing their home is currently in the cone of uncertainty can lead to anxiety. Below are signs to look for and tips to help your child or teen weather the storm.
Signs of Hurricane Anxiety
Anxiety about hurricanes can show up as physical, emotional, and behavioral changes. Here are some of the most common signs to watch for:
- Physical complaints: trouble sleeping, concentrating, or seemingly more irritable and unable to relax while concerned about the weather
- Emotional symptoms: worrying about the weather or news reports, focusing on the potential catastrophic consequences of intense storms, and continuing to talk about the hurricane no matter what you say to reassure your child
- Behavioral changes: avoids hanging out with friends, going outdoors or to school, habitually checking weather updates or your home’s safety, or constantly looking out the window or at the sky
Tips to Help with Hurricane Anxiety
- Make a plan: Create a hurricane preparedness plan and involve the whole family. A well-prepared plan can help reduce anxiety and stress before, during, and after the hurricane.
- Limit media coverage: News coverage of hurricanes tends to show the most frightening aspects of the storm. Talk with your child about why it’s healthy to limit the amount of time spent checking weather updates.
- Be available and non-judgmental: Allow your child or teen to share their concerns and ask questions. Listen patiently while also remaining confident in their safety.
- Be a role model: While you’re looking at weather alerts, your child is looking to you to determine how nervous they should be. Your calm behavior during times of stress will show your teen that things are okay.
- Provide opportunities to help: Giving your child an age-appropriate role can help them feel a sense of control. It can also help them switch from passive worrying to proactive problem-solving.
- Encourage self-care: When our bodies are tired or weak, we’re more emotional. Encourage healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise to create a strong emotional core.
When to Seek Professional Help
Hurricane anxiety, to some degree, is normal and age-appropriate. If your child or teen seems overly fearful of approaching storms, or if their anxiety is affecting their daily functioning, it may be time to seek professional help.
Lumate teaches the skills necessary to cope with hurricane anxiety.
For more information, click here to schedule a brief consultation today. Anxiety has a plan. We have a better one.