As hurricane Isaac barreled into the gulf states yesterday, it served as a reminder to all of those not directly impacted to bone up on their own safety checklist. While Virginia- and Richmond, in particular- may not be in the direct path of most hurricanes, we’re certainly not immune from being hit, as evidenced by Irene in 2011 and Isabel in 2003. The thought of weathering another storm isn’t a pleasant thought for anyone, and many parents find it difficult to prepare their children without scaring them. Since, there are still another two full months of hurricane season, here are a few tips for keeping your kids confidant, calm, and clued in during hurricanes and other inclement weather.
- First, it’s probably good to explain to your children the difference between a “watch” and a “warning,” so they’ll know when to actually take precautions and when to just keep an eye out. You want them to feel well-prepared, but not necessarily react too soon.
- Get your family together to discuss emergency and evacuation plans. Make sure that everyone is on the same page about where to go for shelter. Much of this will depend on the type of home you’re living in, and where your home is located.
- Stock up on flashlights, extra batteries, and make sure to have at least one battery powered radio in your house. Keep a flashlight, extra batteries, and a first aid kit in each of your children’s rooms.
- Make sure all electric devices like phones and computers are completely charged before the storm hits, in the event that you would lose electricity and not be able to charge them for awhile.
- Keep a running inventory of your non-perishable foods. You should have enough canned and boxed foods to last you and your family 3-5 days.
- Stock up on bottles of drinking water. Also, consider buying several jugs of water for daily things like washing hands, brushing teeth, and any other kind of cleaning, in the event that your tap water will not be safe to use.
- Keep extra books and craft supplies on hand to keep your younger kids from going stir crazy. Board games and cards are also good options to keep boredom at bay.
- Finally, after the storm has passed, don’t assume it’s now safe to let your kids outside to play. Branches and trees could still topple over, live wires may be down, and in general, it may not be safe to be outside until area officials have given the “all clear.”
By preparing ahead of time, communicating openly and regularly about expectations, staying tuned for weather updates, and most importantly- sticking close together, you can instill a sense of stability in your children, even when the world outside their window is unpredictable.