Written by Pradeep
Kids, as well as a few adults, are scared of thunder. Thunderstorms can be dangerous if you are outside and the risk of getting struck by lightning is high. The loud noise during thunderstorms scares kids. Here are top 10 tips to help your child overcome the fear of thunder.
Younger kids are still establishing how the world works. The sudden onset of sound triggers fear in kids, who would be totally unaware of its occurrence. The unpleasant noise takes them by surprise.
Knowledge about storms always helps ease anxiety. You can refer your kids to a website, book or other sources that discuss storms. Always reassure them that the storm will pass and everything will be normal soon.
Being scared enough to run indoors and be safe is reasonable, but if your child is terrified of thunder even when they are inside the house, then you have work to do! Hugging your child and calming them when there are loud thunders will be the first step to ease your child’s fear of thunder, but it does not stop there. You need to resort to some tips to help your toddler overcome the fear of thunder, and here’s how:
If you have slightly older kids, you can gather them around during a thunder-storm and explain to them how a thunder occurs. Knowing the facts about a thunder will make it easy for your child to deal with it. By linking science and reason to the thunder, you are slowly calming their fears that thunder is no uncertain, random magic! Moreover, all the lecture will effectively take their minds off, the thunder and their fear!
Do not ignore or ridicule their fears. If you tell your child, their fear is silly, they will not share it with you next time. Instead, they bottle it up and be scared and anxious alone. So talk to them about their fears. Tell them that many other kids also feel the same, but also reassure them that there is no need to be scared as long as they are inside the house.
Sudden thunders can startle anyone! Once a thunderstorm starts, try to distract your kid by playing with them, letting them watch their favorite cartoons or painting something together. You could even make up creative games with thunder sounds in the background – for instance, you can play ‘statue’ and the person who doesn’t flinch during a thunder wins. This will reduce the ‘fear factor’ associated with thunder in your child’s mind. Distraction serves greatly in easing any fear.
For smaller kids, it is the loud sound that scares them more than the real effects of the thunder. And since they are too small, you cannot explain the science behind it! What you can do however is to play some music or play some instruments like a piano or guitar with your child so as to drown the sound of thunder. Making funny noises or faces will also ease your kid’s fear.
Start a family tradition! Work with your child to decide on a “thunder snack“ which you as a family make and eat during every major thunderstorm. Make sure you pick something the child loves so that she has some reason to look forward to thunderstorms. Slowly, the fear would cease to exist and your child will remember only happy moments. Laugh along your child and see how the fear disappears.
Most of us are familiar with the weather patterns of our places of residence. Watch out for local weather forecasts and plan your child’s day ahead if there is a high probability of thunderstorms, especially if you are not going to be home at that time. If your child is small, ensure that they are with someone they trust. You can arrange play dates to distract older kids. In this digital age, getting weather forecast applications on your mobile is a cakewalk.
Many kids find it reassuring to learn how to be safe during a thunderstorm. Tell them that they need to be indoors, that they need to be out of water bodies like pools and that they should not stand next to big trees during a thunderstorm.
If your kid believes in God, then praying can be a very relaxing thing for you and your child to do during a thunderstorm. You could even teach them a few hymns to recite during a thunderstorm that will calm them and keep them safe.
Some parents swear by pillow fights, and say that pillow fights engage the kids so much that they forget about the thunder. Some parents snuggle up to watch a movie, play a game, make noises and explore other ways to deal with the fear of thunder. The more creative you get, the more fun you have.
Have realistic expectations from your child. As we said in the beginning of this piece, there are many adults who still fear thunder. So do not expect your child to outgrow the fear overnight. They will slowly outgrow it, but you need to keep trying to speed it up by constantly communicating with them about it.
It might take months for your child to overcome their fear of thunderstorms; it might happen in a week too. Each child has a different pace. Do not compare and trivialize your child’s feelings as it might impact their self-confidence. Instead, give your toddler time to cope with the fear, and support them. Appreciate the efforts your child puts to stay brave during the next thunderstorm. Seek the advice of a specialist if, despite your best efforts, the child remains inconsolable and scared and fear gets deep rooted.
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