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Children & Thunderstorms

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

We had big thunderstorms in our area last night. The skies were filled with lightening, huge claps of thunder, loud winds and torrential rain. While the storms only last for a short time it was enough to wake up the dog and I watched and listened as she ran for cover beneath our bed and curl up in the “dog” fetal position. She is really afraid of storms and didn’t come out for hours. This reminded me of the many times that our children would come running to our room during a thunderstorm and also curl up (great cuddle time) afraid of the lightening and thunder.

It is not uncommon for young children to be afraid of thunder and lightening. It is usually loud and dark, two things that are both often scary to young kids. It often awakens them from sleep causing further disorientation. The blowing wind only makes it seem scarier as the tree limbs hit the roof and the rain seems like it will blow through the walls. Throw in a little hail and you have the makings for many scared children.

When your children are old enough, get some library books and read about thunderstorms. It is a great time to learn a little about the weather. They love understanding different types of clouds, why it hails and learning to count the time between the thunder and lightening. Having the knowledge of what is happening is empowering and often makes a thunderstorm less frightening. There are even storybooks for children in the toddler age, with characters that are afraid of storms too, which helps a child work through their own fears.

Funny thing, as children get older they usually like the storms and want to watch the weather change. Before you know it they are teens and believe it or not, they sleep through anything.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

More Information: Katie and the Magic Umbrella

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