My six-year-old son is a kindergartner in the Urbandale School District. He enjoys school and loves learning about new, exciting things. The minute he gets home, he is chattering a mile a minute about what he did in class, what happened during PE, and who got in trouble for not listening.
He saves the "bad stuff" that happened to share as I am tucking him in for bed. Usually the "bad stuff" consists of such things as a classmate not wanting to play with him or someone giggling if he fell down on the playground.
Last week, Dubya was troubled with heavier subject matter. "Mommy, has there ever been a tornado in Urbandale, Iowa?" I try very hard not to lie to my kids, especially about the tough stuff, so I told him that yes, there have been tornadoes in our area.
Ten minutes later, I was rethinking my answer and my moral code as I dealt with a sobbing, scared kiddo.
Apparently, the science lesson at school revolved around tornadoes. Dubya, my thoughtful little child, took the lesson to heart and was scared senseless. After multiple questions about weather conditions, tornado sirens and what happens if a tornado happens at the same time Urbandale is testing their sirens, Dubya decided that he was going to watch the news every morning, so he would be prepared for a tornado.
Every day since, regardless of how amazing the weather has been, we have been watching the news and discussing weather conditions: "Mommy, will there be a tornado in Urbandale, Iowa today?" "Nope." "Are you sure?" "Yep."
Today’s weather is a serious cause of concern for Dubya. According to the forecast, Urbandale is going to get hit with severe thunderstorms this evening.
Daddy and Dubya have already had three discussions about tornadoes and tornado safety. Dubya knows about the warning systems Urbandale has in place. He knows that during severe weather my husband and I monitor the conditions outside to make sure we have plenty of time to head to the basement. He knows that Mommy and Daddy will protect him and his baby sister at all costs.
But still, Dubya is concerned. He has requested that we move from Iowa to a state that doesn’t get hit with tornadoes. It didn’t seem to bother him that every other state has the potential for some sort of natural disaster. He wants to flee this city and his fears.
As his parents, we are doing our best to calm him without minimizing his fears. But I just keep thinking that my life would be so much calmer if I had just fibbed and told him no when he first asked about tornadoes.
Any parents have experience handling a kid's weather fears?