NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Christie and other local officials are urging Tri-State residents to be prepared for the looming threat of Hurricane Irene, the intense news coverage generated by the storm may instill a bit of fear or concern in young children.

Dr. Irwin Redlener of the Public Health National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University offers advice to parents when it comes to soothing the anxiety of youngsters.

“You’re going to be hearing a lot of wind, a lot of noise…all of that’s going to have the potential to create quite a bit of anxiety in children,” Dr. Redlener said. “Holding them, making sure you’re physically close, answering questions that they have and trying to remain calm are the most important things to do.”

Explain to your kids that although this is a dangerous storm, many of the measures being taken are precautions which will keep your family safe.

“Reassure children that there is going to be a big event, but we’re going to keep ourselves…as safe as we possibly can, and that’s why Mom and Dad are doing the various things we have to do to get ready.”

Don’t try and change the subject.

“It doesn’t really do any good to try and avoid the issue,” Redlener said. “There’s probably too much going on to say ‘nothing’s happening,’ so honesty is the best policy here.”

Of course, the amount of honesty depends on the age and developmental status of your child.

“There’s a lot more you can say to a 15-year-old than you can say to a 5-year-old.”

For more tips and CBSNewYork’s Severe Weather Guide, click here.

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