With April right around the corner our spring rains have begun. With these rains often come thunderstorms; a dog and toddler’s worst nightmare. Fate would have it that the thunder had to sound when our little squirts was calmly drifting off to sleep completely jerking her awake. Not remembering the other thunderstorms that she had sat through her reaction was typical to the unknown: freak out.
Taking inspiration from what has worked in the past we explained to our little one that lightning is light in the sky, kind of like a firework, that warms the air SO much that it makes a loud noise which is what woke her up. Intrigued by the idea of a big light in the sky our little squirts willingly sat down to watch the thunderstorm through our sliding glass door.
At first her reaction was, again, typical. She buried her head in her father’s arm and said that she was scared. We reexplained that she was safe and that the lightning was a big light in the sky that warms the air up SO much that it makes a loud noise. Convinced that she was safe, she turned around to watch the storm again.
Again we had lightning, and again she put her head in her father’s arm. This time however, she waited for the thunder and looked out. Her body began to relax and from then on she was thrilled to watch the storm. She would comment on nature’s fireworks as being “awesome” and “cool”; a fantastic turn from the typical reaction to the unknown.
*Teacher Tip: take some time to observe a thunderstorm in the classroom. Talk about the science behind the production of lightning and thunder by-product. If you’re teaching early childhood take some time to work on patterns with lightning and thunder. My squirt and I were acting out the pattern after each sequence; when the lightning would flash we would flash with our hands and then when the thunder would sound shortly after we would make a thunder sound. Since the storm wasn’t too close we would practice the pattern between sequences.