No parent wants to imagine weathering a serious storm or natural disaster with a small child. Unfortunately, things like severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and other types of dangerous weather are all too common.
While the prospect of facing one of these situations with your little one is frightening, taking steps to ensure that you are prepared will make it much
easier to weather the storm.
Whether you have kids or not, it is important to take steps to prepare for inclement weather.
Everyone should have an emergency kit in their home to ensure that they have what they need in the event of an emergency. When you have small children, though, your kit needs to include extra items for them.
You also need to carefully plan evacuation routes, make sure your kids understand. Like what to do in the event of severe weather, earthquake, or flood.
Take steps to ensure that their needs will be met even if you are without power, water, gas, etc. for a few days.
Storm preparedness with small children can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Keep reading to discover some helpful tips and advice.
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Involve Children in Planning
Storms can be scary for kids. One way you can help ease some of the fear, though, is by involving your youngsters in the planning process. In doing so, you can help them better understand storms and provide a sense of safety.
Pre-cook some meals in case you lose power. Hot-pots and stews are a great way to get the family involved in cutting up vegetables and meat. They will also stay warm for a long time if well insulated.
Involving them in the process also creates a sense of empowerment that makes them feel much less helpless in the face of severe weather.
There are all sorts of ways to involve your family in preparing for a hurricane. For starters, have them help you build an emergency kit. Ask them to think about what items and supplies they think they would need in the event of an emergency. Teach them about important items to include and explain why those items might be needed.
Make sure they know where the emergency kit will be stored and that the items contained inside it are not to be used except when there is an emergency.
Sit down as a family to discuss your plan for communicating in the event of severe weather. Next, figure out where everyone will meet and how you will get there. Come up with escape routes for your home. Go through what each member in the family will do before, during and after a disaster. They are never too young to learn.
Role-play various scenarios repeatedly until everyone knows exactly what to do. We do this one a month in our home and it is a fun activity for the little ones.
Consider having random emergency drills, too. This will keep everyone’s memory refreshed and eliminate some of the confusion if you are ever faced with a real emergency.
Build an Emergency Kit
When you are working on building an emergency kit or bug out bag with your kids, be sure to include the right options. For starters, you’ll need a minimum of three days’ worth of food and water.
Choose non-perishable food items and store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. Don’t forget about food and water for any pets you may have!
Your kit also needs to include no less than three days’ worth of clean clothing that is appropriate for the weather in your area. Keep in mind that kids grow quickly, so you may need to update their emergency clothing regularly.
Think about the weather and if you need to escape the area on foot, by car, or by boat. If you get snowed in how can you get out?
Order wholesale t-shirts and sweatshirts in a few different sizes to ensure that you have clothing on hand to update the kit as needed. Wholesale clothing is a good option for adult outfits, too.
Make sure you have a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, flashlights and plenty of extra batteries. You should also have an extra cell phone charger and a portable charger. Solar chargers are great to have on hand in case you lose power.
Other essentials include a first aid kit, personal hygiene items, prescription, and over-the-counter medications. Local maps, important documents for everyone in the family, warm blankets, sleeping bags, and an emergency
whistle will come in handy.
Help each of your kids pick out a special stuffed animal or blanket to include with their emergency supplies.
Allowing them to choose a comfort item can help them get through the most frightening part of the storm. Also, let them add a few books, small games or puzzles, along with a deck of cards.
If you end up facing an extended power outage, these simple items can help keep them entertained one their phones and tablets are out of power.
Limit Media Exposure
If a storm is imminent, limit your kids’ exposure to the media. The coverage for upcoming storms can be quite excessive and is known to stress out even the bravest of adults.
For a child, constantly hearing about an impending storm and the destruction it is expected to bring can be downright terrifying. Make sure your kids know that a storm is coming. Involve them in making last-minute preparations, but try to keep things as normal as usual–and don’t let them spend hours glued to the news
After the storm hits, shield them from frightening media coverage and sensationalized reports.
They will likely already be feeling uneasy, and the last thing they need is to hear about death tolls or see scary images. Talk to them and make them feel safe. Encourage them to talk about their feelings before, during and after the storm.
If they seem to be struggling to recover following the trauma of a major storm or natural disaster, talk to their pediatrician.
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
- Water: At least a 3-day supply which is around one gallon per person per day. Maybe even store a portable water filter for an extended outage.
- Food: At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food like MRE packs.
- Flashlight with spare batteries.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
- Two-way radio or walkie talkies.
- First aid kit fully stocked.
- Medications both prescription and over the counter at least 1 week supply.
- Medical items such as hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, and walking stick.
- Multi-purpose tool.
- Survival fishing kit.
- Personal documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, lease or deed to home) Photocopies will be fine.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Emergency silver blanket
- Insect repellent and sunscreens
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Raincoat or snow gear.
- Portable power like a generator or solar power.
Hurricane Safety Tips
- Tape all windows with masking tape.
- Fill your bathtub with water.
- Get to an emergency shelter as soon as possible.
- Get to your basement before the storm hits.
- Turn off all power to your house at the meter board.
- If trapped in a room hide under a table for extra protection.
- Stay away from low-lying and flood-prone areas.
- Always stay indoors during a hurricane, because strong winds will blow things around even you.
- Leave transportable, mobile homes and to go to a shelter.
- If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
- If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.
Severe storms can be scary even for adults. And for small children, they can be downright terrifying. As a parent, it is your responsibility to comfort them and ensure their safety when bad weather strikes.
By taking steps to prepare for inclement weather and including your kids in the planning process, you can help your family weather any storm with as little stress as possible.