Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Prep for Kids

While we prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene here in NC, we're focused on preparing our homes, making sure we have enough supplies, etc. We watch the forecasts, check the updated hurricane prediction models, etc. Here's a little information on creating a Family Disaster Plan. (And make sure you've got enough medication, diapers, formula, etc in addition to your "regular" supplies!) But aside from this, how can you help prepare your little ones without getting them upset or overly anxious?
My oldest son Braydon is very much a worrier. He hates the thought of bad storms coming and the last time we had a severe weather problem here, places all around us got hit by a few tornadoes. We had to prepare ourselves though to "shelter in place". All of this left Braydon extra nervous, especially with our recent "jolt" with yesterday's "earthquake".

So this got me to thinking about preparing our kids "Disaster Distraction" bag: Items that would make them feel secure, that would distract them, that would allow them to feel that, God-forbid if things were to be catastrophic, they would have a piece of normal with them. Something also to keep them from driving us crazy with "I'm boooorrreeed" should we lose power. I made a list & wanted to share it with you to help you prepare your own.

I was able to assemble three of these (One for boy age 7, girl age 3, boy age 22 months) with things right in my own house in a relatively short time. I'm fairly confident that you'd probably be able to do the same as well. There's no "right" way or wrong way to make one-what works for one family may not work for another. Your kids could not like to color, maybe they prefer to write a story or make a collage. For example, I know for sure that I'm including scraps of fabric in my youngest son's bag because he loves to try to make "hats" out of them. But your kids would probably say "Mom, why did you put scrap fabric in my bag?!?" You know your kids better than anyone else so use what works best for you.

-Small flash light with batteries-keep it simple, no need for an expensive "Character" one. (see below) *Frugal Tip* I buy Halloween flashlights on clearance after Halloween is over. I know that's still several months away & won't help you now, but maybe it will help you for next year!

-A Sheet of stickers to "decorate" their flashlight so they can identify their flashlight from their siblings'.

-GLOW STICKS-these will be so much fun for the kids & you can even get the ones that turn into bracelets/necklaces so you can locate little ones in the dark. Again, no need to break the bank-A simple run to your Dollar Tree is all you need!

-Puzzles/bouncy balls/small non-electric games/Boardgames (checkers, chess, memory, etc) to pass time, even if by flashlight. Use "Spanish & English" memory pictured above and have "school" time as well!

-Deck of cards It's amazing what creativity comes out of children with a few hours of no electricity & a deck of cards! You can even have a "card throwing" party....You take turns showering each other with cards (have the "victim" put on a pair of sunglasses if you are worried your kids might get over excited).

-A small soft toy/stuffed animal. This doesn't have to be new. Surely you've got some extra stuffed animals laying around. *Frugal Tip* I purchased the animals above in May of this year at an Old Navy. They were left over from Christmas & originally had a clear plastic envelope attached to put a gift card in. I scored these for 10 cents each!

-A Ziploc bag of peppermints, butterscotch disks, or other hard candy. Make your own rules & put them in the bag. For example "You may eat ONE candy for every hour the power is out" AND/OR a Ziploc bag of cookies/cereal/pretzels/dried fruit

-An envelope with index cards with Bible verses/quotes about not being fearful (this comes in handy for my little worrier!)

-A coloring book & crayons/markers, dry erase board & makers, construction paper & scissors. All of these or some of these-it's up to you!!

GIRL-SPECIFIC ITEMS: Hairbrush/comb, hair bows, jewelery, nail polish, dolls/barbie dolls and accessories, horses, etc.

BOY-SPECIFIC ITEMS: cars, army men, airplanes/helicopters, legos, balls, Star wars figures, superheroes/action figures, guns *gasp!* (Yes, we let my son play with nerf guns!!)

IDEAS FOR TODDLERS: Use your judgement for putting in items above in your toddler's bag. Kids love to put things in their mouths & the glow sticks are toxic if they bite into & break them. The items below are geared specifically for those toddlers who will insist on their own bag!

-Bubbles are not only a distraction for little ones, but it often becomes a distraction for all. Allow the older children to take turns getting to blow bubbles for the younger ones to "catch".

-Plastic Eggs (from Easter) I can't take credit for this idea because I know recently I saw a blog post some where about it but after searching forever to get the link I couldn't track it down. But then I remembered, the for months (seriously months!) after Easter, my kids were still playing with the plastic Easter eggs. After having stepped on one too many, we finally decided to retire them to the attic until next Easter. But I went up there & grabbed about a dozen because I know that as soon as my older 2 saw him playing with the eggs, they'd want one. This way it gives them 4 a piece if they all want them at the same time!

-A Ziploc bag of cereal/cookies/pretzels/dried fruit

-A small photo album with pictures of things they like (for example, JoJo loves dogs, so his is filled with pictures of dogs, puppies, people with pets, cats, etc) You can see that I've combined actual photos (on the far right is my sister's former crazy Jack Russell Terror, I mean terrier) along with pictures that I cut out from my coupon inserts!

-An old cell phone. Toddlers love to pretend and mimic what they see their parents doing, and they love to talk so combine these together and BINGO! Entertained toddler (at least for a few minutes!) Just make sure that the battery is taken out of the phone because even if you have upgraded to a new cell phone & there's no longer service on the phone, a 911 Emergency phone call can still be placed!!

-A Ziploc bag with Paint store samples from your local hardware/super center store. They can look at the different colors, make a rainbow, you can have the identify things that start with "red" such as an apple, or the sky for blue.

Here's hoping that this post is in vain and that Irene decides she likes going a bit to the East and miss any further landfall!!!


Ken said...

Great ideas!

Hamlin said...

Moms are so much more powerful than they realize. How they are feeling on a particular day can have significant effects on the entire family. A Mom can and does influence so many things in her environment. And that can affect how she feels, and in turn how the other family members feel.