The last weekend of October 2012 begged for parental advice on handling Halloween. Then, it got a little “Sandy” and everyone’s focus changed. Battening down hatches and covering bases makes for much busy work and much preoccupation with doom and danger.
During these occasional crisis events it is very important to take a moment or two and look at things from the eyes of our children. We will undoubtedly do everything to move them out of harms way at whatever cost. Whether it be battery operated lanterns over oil lamps and candles; having plenty of non perishable food on hand to prevent living on potato chips for two days; or evacuating your home if necessary – their safety is just one of the afore mentioned preoccupations.
But even when you are satisfied with their safety, they may still have concerns. Too often, little ones are left to their own understanding to decipher all the strange behavior and new worries. You will be creating valuable lines of communication if you take the time and make the effort to entertain any questions or concerns they may have.
Emotionally, children follow our lead. It is not necessary to stuff all your feelings and fears, but it is important to try to control your responses. Of course, whenever we are concerned, it is most important to simply include them. Explain what’s going on, why you are worried, and what you plan to do.
They will most probably have lots of questions, but calmly answering their worries to the best of your ability reassures them, and that’s what they are really looking for. They need your assurance that you expect everything to be alright and that you plan to do everything you can to keep them safe.
Children like to help. Be sure to find some jobs for them. Anything from filling the bathtubs, to checking off the shopping list, to putting in the fresh batteries, will fulfill their desire to be of help. Also, it satisfies the “keep them occupied” part of this advice. However, you should still be prepared with coloring books, puzzles, and games for when the work runs out and the “hunkering” begins.
Another really good way for children to find security is to each have their own preparation kit. A tote bag or back pack with a flashlight, granola bars, bottled water, coloring book, crayons, and favorite little teddy bear will become a new friend. Just like with adults, feeling prepared makes the feel secure.
Here’s the disclaimer – the number one consideration whenever you are weighing any new advice for your parental relationship is age appropriateness! Not all advice is for all children or all situations. No one knows your unique children or your unique situation better than you. That is exactly why it is always safe to assume, a mother could fix that.