The impending landing of Hurricane Sandy has sent all of us East Coasters into a panic over the last few days, and while I share the fear of physical danger and loss of electricity, my biggest concern is keeping my two young children shielded from constant anxiety and making sure that we have plenty to do indoors.
I know few parents who don’t dread consecutive rainy days simply because it means the little ones can’t get outside for that gross motor play that is essential to their development and our sanity. But now we are facing at least two days of hurricane force winds and rain and the almost certainty of electricity going out at some point.
I have been prepping my kids for a change in our usual routine and for the possibility of losing power so that they aren’t caught off guard. I have told them that we will play games, read stories and have some fun activities planned, but I know that we will still run into some melt downs, boredom and possibly fear of what is going on outside.
When I was a kid and we had storms that took out the electricity, my parents had a mini home planetarium that we pulled out only on those rare occasions and we talked about stars, planets and constellations. We also talked about the weather, what it is and how it works. They used the down time as a teachable moment which really took our minds away from things being scary to understanding what was going on. They also didn’t have non-stop bombardment from the media. They used the radio with batteries when they wanted an update and then they turned it off. I don’t remember being afraid of storms when I was young.
I hope to be able to instill the same confidence in my children of their safety and have them remember the time we share as fun and cozy, not scary and chaotic.
Here’s what I have up my sleeve so far:
- Arts and Crafts: Yesterday, we went to a local craft store and stocked up on some inexpensive supplies like extra construction paper, glue, pom-poms, feathers, markers and water color paint. We also scored some fall/Halloween activities for half off. It was a struggle to keep them from plowing through the new stuff when we got home. I have it kind of planned out how we will attack the craft stock so we don’t use it all up to early.
Pumpkin and Gourd decorating is also perfect! Since we aren’t keeping our fall decorations outside, we can bring in our large pumpkins and carve or decorate them. We also have little gourds sitting around that we can do something with. I found out that my kids are actually expert pumpkin disembowelers while helping my brother with his. It’s time consuming, too 😉
- Technology: My daughter has a leap pad with plenty of educational games to do, even in the dark, so made sure we have charged the batteries and have backups.
- Books: I have books lined up for marathon story session (as much as they allow at 3-4 years old) with multiple holiday selections to keel it interesting.
- Creative Games: Forts and Pillow piles may be our saving grace. We have very large couch cushions and pillows that we let them pull to the floor and bounce on in desperate times. It gives them some of the big movement and play that they are missing from being stuck inside.
I find that playing imaginary games that I have planned doesn’t work out for us unless if falls into something that they are already in the mind set of. I look for opportunities to turn what they are talking about or doing in the moment into a game, rather then force something else.
So that’s it for now. I may have to up my game, but between having a bad cold and being almost 6 months pregnant, my emotional and physical energy are limited.
What do you have planned for weathering the storm? I’d love to hear some more creative ideas!