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How to Educate Your Children About Severe Weather

April 04, 2013

Educating and preparing your children for severe weather is an important duty every parent has to help keep kids safe in dangerous situations. Given recent extreme severe weather patterns and the fact that no state is immune from severe weather, the more children know about emergency preparedness, the better.

Talk to your children about the types of severe weather in your region

Talking to your children about the types of severe weather that can occur in your region can help eliminate the fear of the unknown and create awareness. Often times, if they’re old enough to have this discussion, then they’re already aware of severe weather watches and warnings by watching television.

Teach children the popular weather safety catchphrases

We use catchphrases because they work. For children, they’re short and easy to remember thanks to rhyming. You probably remember a few from your childhood and here’s a couple more to share:

  • When thunder roars, go indoors

  • Turn around, don’t drown

Create or review your family emergency plan

Let your child know that you have an emergency plan in place, and actually have one. Ready.gov has a Family Emergency Plan (FEP) that you can download and fill out. As you create your plan, consider your daily routines and where your family is at different times of the day. Review the plan with your children and practice it at least twice a year. Homes need to practice emergency drills just like schools do.

Decide on a family meeting place should you be separated and walk there with your children so they know exactly where it is. Depending on where you live and the kinds of severe weather there, you may need a few meeting places. Your meeting place for a fire probably isn’t the same spot for an earthquake or tornado.

Ask children to help make your family’s emergency supply kit

Children can be great helpers gathering the items you’ll need for your emergency kit and it’ll provide an opportunity to discuss each item’s usefulness. Make a scavenger hunt out of it and let children pick a toy or book to include in your family’s kit. Show your children (and the babysitter) where the emergency supply kit is located. Get a list of emergency supplies.

Set a good example during severe weather watches and warnings

When children see you taking appropriate precautions and shelter during severe weather watches and warning, they learn to do the same. Parents are their children’s best role models in severe weather emergencies.

Ready.gov/kids has fun, educational games and activities for kids you can use as teaching tools.

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