TALLAHASSEE — With June’s start of the hurricane season — and the latest National Hurricane Center predictions indicating a busy one, with up to 10 named storms and four hurricanes — the Florida Department of Children and Families offers tips to parents on how to talk to their children about hurricanes and other disasters.
“A disaster can have effects on a family beyond the visible or physical effect,” said DCF Secretary David Wilkins. “It’s important that families and communities are available to help children in every way possible during those distressing times.”
• Encourage children to ask questions and talk about their feelings.
• Respond calmly and explain to the best of your ability.
• Have a plan and share it with your children so they know to expect to go to their grandparent’s house or another location in the event of a hurricane.
• Make sure you have an arrangement for any pets and that your child knows their pet will be safe.
• Tell the child only what they need to know, but do not give details that will needlessly scare them.
• Pay attention to how much media coverage your child is allowed to see. They may not need to see all of the devastation from a major disaster.
• Make sure your child knows who to call in case of a disaster if the parents are not available.
• Help your child set up an emergency kit, with food, water, medical needs and more. Make sure to keep the kit updated and make it a fun activity with your child. Include a flashlight for your child, and books, puzzles and games to keep them occupied.
For more information about disaster preparation in Florida or to develop your own family plan, visit floridadisaster.org