When you have children, your goals for preparedness change significantly. Not only do you need to make sure that your needs are cared for, but now you have the added responsibility of ensuring the needs of the little ones in your care are also covered. In addition, you have to strike the balance between helping your children understand what to do and not making them frightened about a potential disaster that may or may not happen. Here are some tips and a checklist you can use to ensure that you have everything ready for the children in your life.
Keep the Emotions Calm
It’s normal for children to fear storms and other types of disasters, and when they see you preparing, that fear may increase. It’s important that you, as the adult, are able to stay calm, because that calmness will pass on to your children. Even as you prepare, remind your children that you are not worried, but want to be ready if something happens.
Roll-Play What to Do
Once your children understand the importance of preparing, take time to roll-play. What do you do in the event of a fire, storm, power outage or other disaster? Just like fire drills in school, roll-playing disaster prep at home can save lives when a real disaster happens and emotions are intense.
Gather the Right Supplies
You already have the supplies for your general family disaster prep kit, including food and water for everyone, basic toiletry supplies, lights and a first aid kit. Consider adding these kid-specific items to your stash:
- Something to do. Waiting for help can involve quite a long period of time with nothing to do. Some crayons, coloring books, reading materials and simple games can help.
- Diapers, wipes and baby formula. Even if you are nursing your baby, you may not be able to do so after a disaster, so make sure you have feeding and changing supplies.
- Favorite comfort foods. Stash some non-perishable comfort foods that you know your child will eat. It’s often not the most appealing food that is stashed in an emergency kit, so give them something they can enjoy.
- Copies of birth certificates. This is an important security document that you may need should you need to evacuate.
- Flashlights for the kids. Consider adding a flashlight for each kid to your stash so they have their own personal light.
- Household bleach. You may need more water than anticipated when you have kids, so you can use household bleach to treat unsafe water. Add 16 drops from a medicine dropper per gallon of water. Choose plain bleach with no scents or added cleaners.
- Medication. In addition to any prescription medications your child takes, get some over-the-counter medicines in children’s dosages just in case.
Answer Questions Truthfully
When your children have questions about why you are preparing, answer them truthfully in an age-appropriate way. Remember, it’s normal for your child to wonder what you are doing, and your answer will go far in helping your child feel secure and safe.
Preparedness for kids is really no different than preparedness for adults. You simply need to understand the unique needs of kids, and take measures to provide for those needs as you ensure your children have what they need for any emergency situation you may face.