For some kids, the loud booms of thunder are scary. For others, even the anticipation of a severe storm is enough to cause anxiety, according to Stephen Whiteside, writing at MayoClinic.com. Your child might simply need time to outgrow her fear of thunder, but you can provide her with comfort and coping methods to ease her fears.
1 Discuss thunderstorms when the skies are clear. Your child will already feel nervous or scared when the first cracks of thunder happen, so she won't feel like talking calmly about the storm. Talking about thunder ahead of time helps you figure out exactly why she is afraid and what you can do to help.
2 Read children's non-fiction books about thunderstorms to give your child a scientific description of what happens to create the loud sound. A better understanding of the storm sounds might decrease your child's anxiety. Read picture books that include thunderstorms in the storyline. Try "When Fuzzy Was Afraid of Big and Loud Things," by Inger M. Maier; "The Way the Storm Stops," by Michelle Meadows; "Thunder Cake," by Patricia Polacco; and "Dinosaur Thunder," by Marion Dane Bauer.
3 Comfort your child when thunder begins. Her fear of thunder is real to her. Yelling at your child or forcing her to stay in her room alone during a storm won't address her fears. Let your child take the lead. For example, she might want to cuddle with you or she might just want to stay in the same room so she's not alone.
4 Offer your child a favorite comfort item that might ease her fears during the thunderstorm. A favorite stuffed animal, toy or blanket works. Encourage your child to keep the comfort item close throughout the storm.
5 Block out the sounds of the storm. Play music through headphones for your child, or turn on a radio, fan or sound machine in the room to drown out the noise. Place a pillow over her ear as she sleeps in bed to lessen the sound.
6 Play a game or get your child involved in another activity to distract her from the storm. KidsHealth suggests expressing feelings about the storm through writing or drawing.
7 Teach your child relaxation techniques, such as visualizing an enjoyable place. Practice deep breathing exercises, which can help a child deal with fear, according to Purdue University Extension.
Items you will need
- Comfort items
- Noise machine
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