We all know kids bore easily. All summer if the kids are not occupied with camps, vacations, or friends, they lay about complaining of nothing to do. Believe it or not, children also get bored during a disaster.
Of course the aftermath of a hurricane (our most common disaster in Louisiana) is exciting at first. Down power lines and trees to avoid. House and yard turned upside down and maybe damaged. Flashlights, lanterns, and cooking on gas stoves (“Its like going camping, hurray!”). After a day or two without school or power, without easy access to friends because of road blockages, things get boring quickly. Even worse, there is no TV or video games. There is no air-conditioning. Water and food may be running short.
Nothing makes a bad disaster worse than a kid who is whining about being bored and hot, thirsty and hungry. You will want to be ready for your children to weather a disaster as well as yourself.
The first order of business is survival and comfort. Have plenty of bottled water and non-refrigerated food. Have lanterns, flashlights, and enough batteries. Have a gas cooking source. Without A/C, battery-operated fans are a god-send to keep kids cool. You will also want to have wash water (fill those tubs!), bug spray, pain medicines, and a first aid kit to keep children comfortable when they are hot and sweaty, bug-bit and scratched up.
Next, you will want to keep those busy little brains happy. Make a trip to the library when you go to stock up on supplies before a storm. Get them reading now, so that it will be more automatic for the kids to curl up with a book when they need to be occupied, quiet, and out of the way. Have board games and card games ready. Get them to ”test” the games before the disaster, so they will know what games they will like when the power goes. Have them make themselves an exercise plan to burn off energy- laps around the house, playing tag, safe ball games, push ups, jumping jacks, and the like.
As you might have gathered from the above, it is easier for you and more fun for the kids to get them involved in their own disaster “survival.” Have them make their own lists and kits for home survival or travelling to safety. They can help set up their own food, water, books, games, lights, bedding, clothes, shoes, and fans. Have them help you shop for the things they will need.
If you and your kids are well-prepared, maybe the next hurricane will become a fun time for them like camping, rather than a trauma and disaster. Do you have a story or idea about keeping kids happy during a disaster? Put it in the comments below!