Tornado season may be nothing new to those of us who have lived in the Kansas City area, but Tuesday night’s experience sure was. Many of us spent our evening huddled in our safe places – a basement, a bathroom, or other room at a low, interior point in our homes or nearby – watching a super cell leave a path of destruction through Lawrence, Linwood, and into Bonner Springs.
The entire Kansas City Moms Blog team, with support from the City Moms Blog Network, is sending their thoughts to everyone who was impacted by the devastation.
The entire nation is talking about the deadly storms that have broken out across the Midwest, from the Washington Post to the New York Times. And, the scary reality is that storm season is not over yet. So, we’re offering a few parenting tips for staying as calm and as safe as we can muster, as well as resources for aid in the event that you have found yourself in the path of a tornado.
- Build an emergency kit and include your child in the process. You can find tips for what to include in that kit here. Have your kiddos help you in the process. Let them pick their socks and shoes or their stuffed animal or blanket. This process is necessary in the event that something catastrophic does happen, but it can also be helpful in remaining calm during the storm. Knowing that you’re ready can bring some peace of mind. Reminding your kiddos that you’re ready can help keep them calm, too.
- Educate yourself! You need to know the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. You need to know where to go in your home. You can learn more about what you need to know and resources for where to find more information here.
- Educate your kids. It can be really helpful to educate your kids, too. But, as with everything in parenting, it is important to find the balance between explaining the important things and not overwhelming thee kids! Tornados are scary, so information overload can be, too! Our local meteorologists do a great job of addressing kids and putting things in simple terms during their broadcasts. You can even chat with your schools about requesting visits from meteorologists for some fun school programing! Check out your local library for resources that are age appropriate and informative! I haven’t read this book, but it popped up during a quick search on books for small children and I’ll definitely be adding it to our reading list!
- Stay informed and up to date! Smart phones are so helpful for this! Our local news teams post updates on social media at regular intervals. There are fantastic apps that you can download to alert you to risks in your area. My new favorite is the Tornado app from Red Cross. Stay informed, not just during a tornado emergency, but at all times during storm season. Some apps make it as simple as setting your location so that it will alert you of a threat in your area. You could set it and forget it.
- Do your best to stay calm. Or, fake it for the kids. Last night’s tornado passed about 4 miles from our house. In all my years of sheltering during a storm, this was the most nervous I’ve been! But, I set the tone for my family! And, when I panic, so do they! I distracted my kids with the blankets from our emergency kit, and they built forts as we waited out the storm. Other moms from our team let their kiddos watch movies or eat an ice cream picnic. If you’ve followed the tips above, you are as prepared as you can be and your family should be as safe as possible during the storm.
Today, many area families are unsafe at home. They are spending their days sifting through the rubble. It is a daunting and unimaginable process. If you are someone who is looking for resources to help you through this process or you’re someone looking to help those in your community in need, we’ve got a few resources for you.
- The American Red Cross. The Red Cross is currently in Douglas County to assist with shelter and clean up for those impacted.
- Heart to Heart International. This organization is sending resources to our area and has already set up a way to donate money to provide relief for those impacted.
- Social media! Often the fastest way to find out where you are needed is to log in to your network. Local organizations, schools, churches, etc, are using their social media platforms to recruit volunteers, take donations, and direct folks to the help they need. Follow Douglas County Emergency Management for volunteer needs and instructions.
To those impacted by this week’s storms, you continue to be in our thoughts. To those already mobilized to help with clean up, shelter, medical care, and other resources, thank you. To all of us in the Kansas City and surrounding areas, we sincerely hope that you remain safe during this dangerous storm season.