Living in Orlando has a lot of benefits. We have wonderful weather almost year-round, the beach is always close by, and it’s always easy to find something to keep the entire family entertained. However, as much we love this city, there’s one risk we all have to accept: hurricane season. For young children, hurricanes and tropical storms can be a source of stress and worry. While they know private schools in Orlando cancel classes during hurricanes, the unexpected break often does little to alleviate their fears. Teaching your kids about how these storms form can help make the unknown feel less scary.
Explain How They’re Formed
In order to form, hurricanes require the right set of conditions. Hurricanes begin as a tropical storm, and as the warm air from the ocean rises to meet the cool air from the atmosphere, the storm can easily pick up speed. This combination of warm and cool air creates wind and increases moisture in the air, causing the storm to start swirling and spinning. If the storm gets large enough, it turns into a hurricane.
To give kids a visual idea of this process, fill a bowl with water and a few drops of blue or green food coloring — these are the most visible colors for the demonstration. Then, have your kids stir the bowl slowly in a clockwise direction. As the motion continues, the food coloring spreads out, much like the cloud pattern we associate with hurricanes.
Explain Why It Doesn’t Always Happen
Assure your child that not every tropical storm turns into a hurricane. This is because the conditions weren’t right and the storm didn’t gain enough strength to do more than send heavy rain and wind our way. Hurricanes are finicky and will only happen if the storm encounters enough energy and moisture.
Get Them Involved
If there’s an active storm anywhere along the coast, set up a daily tracking chart and get your kids involved in watching the weather. As the tropical storm gains or loses strength, have them make a note of it on the chart. If it starts to turn into a hurricane, take the time to discuss the preparations you’ll make at home. Get them involved in the process and have them help with the shopping list and maintenance checklist, and demystify the sheltering or evacuation process. The more kids understand what’s happening around them, the more prepared they’ll be for a major storm.