It’s storm season again. Last night we had a thunderstorm that woke up my daughter and sent her scampering into our bedroom. It’s funny, she used to merrily sleep through storms, oblivious to their wrath. However, within the last year or two, she seems to have exhibited a fear of thunderstorms and has come into our room for comfort when a storm is raging.
Research suggests that this is not at all uncommon, even for older children (in fact, there are quite a few adults who experience similar anxieties). After all, it can get pretty dramatic, what with the flashes of light and loud booms of thunder.
Although I have compassion for her anxiety, ultimately I would like to teach my daughter how to overcome her fear of thunderstorms and learn ways to comfort herself when a storm is brewing (doing so, teaches her valuable life skills and helps her gain confidence in herself and her abilities).
This article outlines some things that you can try to help alleviate your child’s fear of thunderstorms.
Many of the articles I read related to this topic, suggested that a better understanding of thunder and lightning and why they occur, can lessen a child’s fear of thunderstorms. I’ll admit that science is not exactly my forte, so I decided to call on the experts for this one (I also wanted an explanation that a child could understand, so that made it a bit more challenging). Click on this link to watch the Bill Nye episode on Storms (it’s a little long at 23 minutes, but your kids will love it!).
A little bit of knowledge can go a long way, but so can a little bit of imagination. Sometimes, the best solution is to get creative and ‘make a game out of it’. Pretend that there is a band playing and that thunder is a drum solo (have them join in on their pillow), or that someone is taking pictures with a flash (have your child imagine what the other person could be taking pictures of, or have them think about what pictures they would like to take). These “games” can distract the child and help associate the scary sights and sounds of a thunderstorm, with more calming ones(e.g. drums and cameras). Be creative and see what the two of you can come up with!
If you’re interested in helping your child overcome their fears and anxieties, you may also like my article on “Dealing with nightmares“.