Keep calm and be a parent

Erin Zammett Ruddy’s children created a fort in their house with blankets to sleep in while the power was out.

Gathering the family around a candlelit table can sound quite cozy — until it gets scary. For many parents on the East Coast this week, the normal stress of parenting has been affected by loss of power, evacuation and a widespread devastation in some areas. During extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy, parents are burdened with trying to find information about loved ones and, in many cases, assessing the damage. At the very least, kids out of school get cooped up and bored.

Dr. Dawn Huebner, a child psychologist and author of a “what-to-do” series of guides for children, says that the most important thing for parents to remember during an emergency situation is to keep separate what they are experiencing from their children.

“Parents are going to be seeking out information and wanting to watch the news or listen to reports or looking at the devastated sites. All of that is terrifying to children.”

Huebner says parents should try and be as calm and reassuring to their children as possible. Even for families who have been evacuated, Huebner says parents can try to reassure children that the family is safe. If the situation is dire, focusing on how the family will get through the challenging part is a good technique.

Sometimes, extreme weather can give a family a chance to shine together. For Erin Zammett Ruddy, a blogger for Parenting.com and mother of two kids ages 2 and 5, keeping the children occupied is key. Ruddy’s family lost power during Hurricane Sandy for days — she was one of the 450,000 Long Island residents without power — but she is grateful to be able to make her home a de facto clubhouse for her friends and relatives. Ruddy is a big believer in keeping the family’s routine going as much as possible, a trait Dr. Huebner recommends.

“We made sure they have still been having their eating and sleeping and napping routines,” Ruddy says.

By now, most schools in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy will have returned to classes. Lara Pasternak, a drama teacher at I.S. 61 in Corona, Queens, sees the hurricane as a way for students to empower themselves and give back to communities. “I work in an area that’s economically depressed, but no matter how little the students have, they are very generous,” Pasternak says, adding that donating and volunteering is an essential lesson in humanity and civic duty.

Top techniques

Tips for parenting during extreme weather from Dr. Dawn Huebner, child psychologist and author:
   
Use “feelings words” when talking to children.

Acknowledge that something is scary or sad, addressing uncertainty.
   
Give reassurance that the family is safe, if that is true.

If disaster is striking, parents can assure children that they will take care of them and that police and city agencies are working hard.
   
Maintain routines.

Children can be especially clingy or show regressive behavior during extreme weather. Routines should be maintained as much as possible.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

As New York City property values surge, historic…

After a long and unsuccessful battle by community members and politicians to save the space, Rizzoli recently joined a growing number of iconic New York businesses displaced or permanently shuttered…

Local

Preachers rail at NYPD at Eric Garner's funeral

Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who…

Local

Newark schools probed after claims of race discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Movies

Review: Joe Swanberg's 'Happy Christmas' does its best…

Filmmaker Joe Swanberg finds himself returning to the world of name cast indies with "Happy Christmas," starring Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…