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Helping preschoolers deal with hurricanes (and other natural disasters)


hurricanesMany of us on the east coast have been affected in some way by Hurricane Sandy. (I am actually writing this post in the dark using generator power!)


In a preschool classroom setting, depending on the extent of the impact of the storm, teachers and caregivers need to be sensitive to children’s concerns and fears about the storm and its aftermath. It’s a time of uncertainty for some children – for others, it’s an exciting learning opportunity. During times of storms, large and small, I found some online resources that can be helpful to you in talking with and teaching the children in your care.


Sesame Street Hurricane Toolkit


The folks at Sesame Street have put together a resource called a Hurricane Kit, which has videos, activities and tips for talking to children about hurricanes. Some tips they give are try to keep a normal routine, limit children’s viewing of media coverage and paying attention to signs of stress in your child.


How to talk to children


Amanda Rock at about.com gives some advice for talking to young children about natural disasters – because even if you are monitoring what they are viewing on TV, it’s very likely that they are aware and hearing of what is going on, and probably not fully understanding it.


Using books


Some children are more than likely fascinated with the weather, and a big storm can be an opportunity to learn more about it. Using books to help children learn about “big weather” (such as hurricanes), is one way to help children understand and even prepare for what to expect from a storm. You can choose books that talk about how storms are formed – or focus on stories that discuss how adults and children can prepare for the storm so everyone stays safe. See some suggested book title over at Scholastic.com.


My heartfelt prayers go out to all those who have been affected by Sandy … some families are facing some really challenging times ahead. Stay safe … and keep your children close.


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