So the epic storm of a lifetime is coming. Yes you know the one – Hurricane Florence. You cannot escape the constant news coverage. The drama. The sensationalization. It is gonna be a nasty one.
As a mom with a family in the path of the storm, how do we prepare? How should we react?
Sure we all know the basics of storm prep:
- get supplies (water, batteries, bread, milk, flash lights, etc)
- consider getting a generator
- charge all your devices and have backup power packs (cell phones, tablets, etc)
- gas up the car
- pack an emergency bag in case you need to evacuate (clothes, meds, cash)
- pack/secure important documents, jewelry, heirlooms, photos
- pack and plan for your pets
- have a plan to notify friends and family of your status
- make an evacuation plan
Oh there are tons of things on the Hurricane Prep list but these are the biggies. Google and YouTube are full of tips.
What about preparing your KIDS? How do you explain the storm? How to you keep them from being afraid? What the heck are you going to do to entertain them for DAYS in your home potentially without power, internet, water?
How do you explain a storm of this magnitude?
Storms are so unpredictable and there are some inexplicable reasons for how they behave. They are so complex.
I guess we should keep it simple and just say that really strong winds start to spin around in a circle over the ocean. It can cause damage with stuff flying in the air and it can push water on shore and flood stuff. For these reasons we need to stay inside or go somewhere away from the storm to stay safe.
If your kids are older and have the bandwidth to understand a slightly more technical explanation, I have included some links below that are popular kid friendly resources. Seriously though – I learned a lot from them too.
But then the questions come. “when will it get here?” “how long will it last?” “will people die?” “are we going to be ok?” “what do we do if xyz happens?”. They are curious and do not always understand why you don’t have the answer.
Then the mother of all questions: “why is God doing this?”. Wow that is a doozie.
How do you keep them from being afraid?
We as parents straddle that fine line between making them understand the severity and making them scared. In my experience, my kids mirror my reactions. So I guess that means calm but respectful. Calm knowing we are prepared and respectful of the storm and its capabilities.
For little ones like mine who are 6yr and 3yr it is difficult. This is not their first hurricane. They remember seeing the flooding and damage caused in our town by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Those are vivid memories for them. Floods and destruction. Visits to shelters and donations. So much loss. So what do we do?
- We try to watch the news to stay informed but not so much as to freak the kids out – they do not need to see all of the media hyped coverage. There is a really great resource on Facebook called “Mike’s Weather Page”. He is just a regular joe collecting weather info and reporting it in such a way that a non-expert can understand. He provides quick up to the minute updates without all of the drama. Check him out on Facebook at @mikesweatherpage LINK HERE.
- We try to make the experience educational by teaching them about weather. (see above links for inspiration). Also consider making a simple hurricane craft. SEE LINK HERE FOR A “HURRICANE IN A JAR” CRAFT
- We try to make it fun with treats, games, crafts, movies, snuggles and such. (see below for ideas)
- We take time to practice praying not only for ourselves but for others in harms way. Did you know that Saint Medard is the Patron Saint of Bad Storms? (SEE HUFFINGTON POST LINK HERE FOR A HURRICANE PRAYER)
How the heck are we going to entertain them?
When storms like this hit we typically are left without power, internet, and water. Not for just a day or two but multiple days and possibly even weeks. So what do you do to entertain the monsters sick with cabin fever? No I am serious. What the heck am I going to do with them? I have a few ideas but I know you mamas have tons more. Put some ideas in the comments PLEASE!
Here are some of my optimistic ideas:
- Board Games/Card Games/Puzzles
- Minute to Win it games
- Flashlight games (tag/shadow puppets/etc)
- Build a pillow fort
- Make a Hot Wheels race track around the house (masking tape/boxes/toy cars)
- Dance Party (glow sticks/flashlights/disco ball/music)
- “Snowball Fight” (balled up socks or crumpled paper balls)
- Indoor bowling (empty water bottles and a tennis ball)
- Dress Up & Photo Shoot
- Hide and Seek
- Picnic in the living room
- Slumber party with sleeping bags
- Tea Party making fruit loop necklaces
- Puppet Show with homemade puppets (paper bags/socks/etc)
- Create things with card board boxes
- Build a mini golf course inside!
- Create an indoor obstacle course
- Indoor Scavenger Hunt
- “Cooking” with gas stove or sterno’s (popcorn/smores/pancakes/fondue)
- Talk to them! (20 questions/I spy/Riddles/Would you rather?)
As of this moment the rain is starting to ping on my windows and the wind is starting to blow. So much more is yet to come. So now I should go check the news and be with my family … and get a glass of wine … and oreos.