Talking About Tornadoes With Kids

I live in Tornado Alley. Every year we are faced with horrible images from communities right down the road and it always breaks my heart. This is the first year that Evan has become aware of the storms.  He has watched storm tracking shows on the Discovery Channel and he remembers seeing the devastating videos. Yesterday he started asking questions.  With Evan, it is best to be honest.  He is so smart and he can recognize when I try to sugar coat topics. I knew I had to find a way to ease his apprehension and hopefully knowledge would dispel some of his fear.

I pay very close attention to the weather, and when the first tornado watch was issued, he heard the alarm.  I explained the entire situation in detail.  I showed him the radar.  I explained to him what we would do if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning was issued for our area.  He went back to playing.  He asked me for weather updates throughout the day and I let him look at the radar with me each time.  One of his biggest concerns was that a tornado would just appear and we would be caught off guard.  I took this opportunity to explain storm formation again and assured him that we would be warned in plenty of time.  I showed him the tweets from local meteorologists that were keeping everyone updated and explained they were watching out for us.  The best part is when he asked me what type of education a person had to have before they could become a meteorologist.  I explained the education requirements and he was relieved to know a scientist was watching out for us. Silly kid.

He was comforted by the fact that I was calm, we had a plan, and I was paying attention.  The biggest lesson I learned yesterday is to just be honest.  Evan asked what we would do if our house was destroyed, and at first I wanted to dismiss the question with a simple, happy answer.  I paused and then told him the truth. I told him that I would be sad, but then explained the purpose of insurance. Knowledge dissipated his fear.

We were blessed. We never had to deal with any severe weather yesterday, but the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia were hit very hard.  I was very careful to not view any news coverage of the damage while either of the boys were in the room and we didn’t listen to the radio on the way to school.  Instead we had a special talk before I dropped Evan off at school.  Again, I wanted him to have the facts just in case he heard other kids talking about the damage and deaths.  I wanted him to have knowledge, so he wouldn’t have fear.

I don’t know if I handled this situation correctly, but I hope so.  Being a Mom is so hard sometimes. I am responsible for shaping these two awesome little boys and I really don’t want to screw up.  Do you have any advice for me?

Also, if you want to help the victims, my pal, Kim, made a list and she is keeping it updated. Visit The Made Thing and find a way to help these people.


What do you think?