“Mommy, can I sleep with you tonight?”

Helping Children Overcome Their Fear of Storms

Spring is here and with it comes warmer weather, new buds on the trees, and of course, storms! Spring storms often bring with them loud thunder, hail, and even tornadoes. While a healthy fear of these weather events is necessary to our safety, helping our children have that healthy fear is often very difficult. If storms occur in the overnight hours, parents generally hear the footsteps of a child coming down the hall and then a soft voice asking “Mommy, can I sleep with you tonight?” How do we help our children overcome their anxiety and fear of storms?

Don’t Let Them See Your Fear

The first step in helping our children overcome their fear and anxiety related to storms is for parents to stay calm and rational during a storm. Do not let your children see an excessive amount of fear in you during storms. According to the Anxiety-Free Child Program, if a child sees their parent become fearful and nervous during a storm they might think this is appropriate behavior and mirror it themselves.

Have Fun Facts 

Another thing parents can do to help with their child’s fear and anxiety regarding storms is to teach them interesting facts regarding storms. According to the popular parenting website, Babble, fear is often born from the unknown. Go to the library and pick up some books about the science behind storms to help ease their fear.

Exposure Therapy

According to a CBS article, exposing your child to storms in a safe way can help dissipate the fears often associated with them. Watching the storms roll in from the safety of your home or even watching YouTube videos of storms can help children gradually get over their fears.

Talk It Out

Children who have lived through a true natural disaster or damaging storm have some very legitimate fears. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggest allowing your child to talk openly about their experience to allow healing. Surround your child with others who have been through a similar experience and that will communicate with your child that they are now safe.

Be encouraged that you will not always have a child running to jump in bed with you every time there is a storm! It is possible to help your children develop a healthy fear of rain, loud thunder, and bright lightening. Following the suggested steps above will help your children move on from their fear.

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