Hurricanes can be scary — for grown-ups and kids alike. Kids learn how to respond to situations based on the behaviors and attitudes of those around them.

Here are some tips to help them — and you — be ready during hurricane season.

Talk About Hurricanes

Kids might be confused about what a hurricane is, so use simple age-appropriate descriptions of what to expect if one is coming your way. For a younger child, you might say, "A hurricane is a tropical storm with very strong winds and lots of rain, lightning, and thunder."

It's also important to tell kids that grown-ups will do their best to keep them safe.

Try to Remain Calm Yourself

Kids can easily sense the emotions of those around them. When a parent seems overly upset or worried, this can make a child's own fears or worries worse.

Let Kids Help With Pre-storm Preparations

Keeping them busy can help keep kids' minds off of their worries. Helping prepare in age-appropriate ways also can increase a child's sense of control over the situation.

To involve your kids:

  • Prepare a family disaster emergency kit. Kids can help collect canned goods and get flashlights ready.
  • Have your kids help bring outdoor items inside.
  • Discuss your family's disaster plan together. Will you need to evacuate — and what would that look like? Which grown-ups will do what? This will help kids know what to expect.

During the Storm

  • Let kids pick a few comfort items, nonelectronic games, and toys in case of power outages.
  • Try to keep as normal a routine as possible. This can help children feel calm and safe.
  • Encourage kids to talk about their feelings or thoughts about what's happening. Some kids might prefer not to talk right away — and that's OK too. Spend time together and let them know that you're there when they're ready.

After the Storm

  • Monitor media exposure. There can be "too much coverage" leading up to and especially after a hurricane hits. These images might be too much for young eyes and sensitive hearts.
  • Let children help with clean-up.
  • Pay attention to signs of stress, including nightmares, regressive behavior/acting younger than their age, and extra clinginess. These are common in children who've gone through a traumatic event. If you see any of these signs, talk to your doctor and know that trained counselors can help.
Back to Articles

Related Articles

Natural Disasters: How Families Can Help

When natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes strike, it's natural for people to want to help. Here are some ways to do that.

Read More

Childhood Stress

Being a kid doesn't always mean being carefree - even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.

Read More

Helping Kids Handle Worry

All kids to worry at times, and some may worry more than others. But parents can help kids manage worry and tackle everyday problems with ease. Find out how.

Read More

How to Talk to Your Child About the News

News reports are often educational. But when stories are about violence or other disturbing topics, parents can find it hard to explain to kids. Here are some guidelines.

Read More


Disasters, like earthquakes and tornadoes, are serious problems. Find out more about these difficult situations and how to help people in need.

Read More

Natural Disasters: How to Help

Many people find the best way to deal with the news of a tragedy is to help. Find out what you can do.

Read More

Normal Childhood Fears

It's normal for children to feel afraid at times. Parents can help kids feel safe and learn to feel at ease.

Read More

Be a Volunteer

Volunteering gives you a great feeling because you know you're making a difference. Find out more in this article for kids.

Read More


Nightmares aren't totally preventable, but parents can help kids feel better when they have one and ease their transition back to sleep.

Read More

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Sometimes after experiencing a traumatic event, a person has a strong and lingering reaction known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting treatment and support can make all the difference.

Read More

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Kids and teens who live through a traumatic event can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Healing is possible with the help of professional counseling and support from loved ones.

Read More


Volunteering gives you an opportunity to change lives, including your own. Get ideas on things you can do and tips on getting started in this article for teens.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and