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Talk To Kids About Hurricanes The Same Way You Would Talk About Sex

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Hurricane Irene is showing no signs of letting up and with so much coverage, both on television and on blogs, kids in all corners of the country may get the slight notion that an apocalypse is upon is. Even if the TV is turned off and the radio is tucked away, kids may be coming across all kinds of scary headlines either on your smartphone or the internet. So when addressing your children’s concerns about Hurricane Irene, give them the gist of what’s happening but without too many details — much like how you did with the sex talk.

Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology and director of Yale University’s Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, told ABC News that intense news stories like these can really frighten children, even if their parents seem relatively calm. So he gave this advice:

Kazdin said parents should answer kids’ questions about the hurricane directly and without embellishing.

“That’s true with questions about sex, and it’s true with questions about hurricanes,” he said. “I wouldn’t hide anything, but I wouldn’t elaborate either.”

He also recommends that you keep to all routines that could ease children despite all the heavy news coverage. Should you be in the Northeast where Hurricane Irene is expected to hit, small things like board games and playing cards can help keep little ones soothed. After the iPad loses battery that is.