How to help kids through the monsoon, scary storms

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Monsoon Storm Monsoon Storm
(3TV/CBS 5) -

A friend of mine recently interviewed me for a blog she was writing for Valley moms. The topic was tips for moms during the monsoon. The specific audience she had in mind was new moms and moms who are new to Arizona. I’m so glad she asked about this and thought I’d pass on some of our conversation here. 

I’ve been covering the monsoon for 12 years now at 3TV, and I also grew up here in the Valley.  Still, I look at storms much differently over the last few years since becoming a mom.

As a self-proclaimed weather nerd, I confess that when I see a storm on the horizon, I get REALLY excited. You’ll find me checking the radar on my favorite weather apps, checking our home weather station to see how much rain we’ve received and how strong the winds have been gusting. But for my kids, the rumble of thunder brings fear. Part of that is a healthy fear of storms. I’ve taught them that we don’t go outside when there’s a thunderstorm. But there’s also just the uncertainty of these powerful storms that really scares my babies. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2017]

My "babies" are 4 and 7 years old now, but even still, they don’t usually want to go with me to stare out the window at storms. They’re usually pretty terrified of any thunder or lightning in our neighborhood. They become less nervous during storms if I reassure them that we’re pretty safe as long as we’re inside. I try to let them know what to expect when storms are heading our way (thunder, lightning, windy weather) and that seems to help. I also try to turn their nerves to excitement by giving them their own flashlight for whenever the power goes out. 

Children love to play in the rain, but for my kids, I only let them do that once a storm has passed. They can play in the puddles. Lightning is too dangerous to mess with. Lightning can strike even 10 miles away from a storm. Get out of the pool (or off the lake) any time you hear thunder. And if you’re out hiking, seek shelter immediately. But don’t try to seek shelter under a tree. That can be a deadly mistake. It’s a good idea to teach your kids these things about lightning, as well. 

[WATCH: Arizona becomes center of lightning universe during monsoon]

[RELATED: Arizona lightning]

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the image of Valley lightning

It’s also a good idea to keep your kids inside just after dust storms. Even after the storm has passed, the dusty air left behind makes it tough to breathe, especially for kids and anyone with asthma. And after those major dust storms, you may even want to change the air filters in your AC units at your house.

If you get caught driving in a dust storm, pull over, turn off your lights and take your foot off the brake. And if you see a dust storm coming, or get a warning about a storm on your phone, don’t chance it and try to run errands. Best to stay home and avoid the danger.

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the image of a Valley dust storm

Really, the best advice during our summer thunderstorm season is just to stay aware. Check the forecast before you make outdoor plans. Don’t ignore those weather warnings for storms. The calmer and more aware you can stay during severe weather, the better you can keep your kids calm -- and safe. 

3TV and CBS 5 meteorologists on Twitter

@AshleeDeMartino | @PaulHortonCBS5 | @royalnorman | @KimQuintero | @SchwartzTV | @aprilwarnecke 

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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