No, we aren’t expecting a new bundle of joy. Despite the pleadings of our two children for me to have twins for them to play with, that ship (or ships) has pretty much sailed. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that here in South Florida and going north up the coast into the Carolinas, we are expecting a now Category 4 Hurricane.
I’ll admit I was a bit freaked out at first because our kids have not gone through a hurricane yet and we’ve had some scary experiences. Born in Florida and raised in the Keys, this is most definitely not my first rodeo. The last hurricane that my hubby and I hunkered down for with my parents was Wilma in 2005. I still remember my dad and husband holding the front door closed so that it would stay shut with the wind gusts. We didn’t have kids back then and thank goodness we didn’t. Since our neighborhood was struck by mini tornadoes, we lost a good portion of our roof, our entire courtyard fence, and we didn’t have power for quite some time. My husband and his parents survived living in Kendall during Hurricane Andrew. We take these things very seriously.
Our kids have asked a lot of questions and keep asking if the hurricane is here. Our daughter has expressed a couple times that she’s scared. These days she does pretty well when her routine changes especially when we are on the road or doing something really fun like vacation. Something about being stuck inside though causes a bit of alarm for her. If you know anything about autism, there are a lot of things that a child who has it does not have control of. So if there is something they can control, (at least in the case of our daughter) it gives them a sense of comfort. A hurricane is completely out of our control and all any of us can do is just pray that we all stay safe and that the impact is not severe.
So our method of coping with being stuck in our cave and riding out the storm has been to stay busy, keep them busy and distracted and make the experience of being cooped up in here fun for them. Here are 10 of my best tips for riding out the storm with kids:
1. Power will most probably go out if it hasn’t already. So cook up all the food you don’t want to waste and make some of their favorites to have on hand.
2. Based on the situation in #1, let them watch movies, play sports on wii, do kids yoga from youtube, or do anything that involves television while there is power. If you’re like us and don’t spend much screen time anyway, now’s the time to let them go hog wild.
3. Have them get on the computer and work on some education sites provided by your school and teacher. They’re still going to need to practice while they are stuck at home and again, the computer might not be on for long.
4. Make sure your phones, tablets, and devices are all charged up. When the tv is no longer a viable option, you can lean on these things for some entertainment and distraction too.
5. Prepare some crafts, coloring books, board games, and other fun activities and save them for last. Fall is here, although it doesn’t feel like it to those of us in Sofla. You’ll find the kids will love to do a project for autumn and it will make them totally forget about this crazy weather.
6. Make sure the kids have their own flashlights or head lamps. A lot of times, like in the case of this storm, it hits land during the evening. Break out the sleeping bags too. If you can all camp out together, it will make it more fun for them.
7. Books, books, and more books. We are a bunch of crazy readers in this family, so we always have tons of library books on hand and our own personal collection of books. It’s a great time for everyone to catch up on their reading. Make it even more fun by using those head lamps or flashlights and read in the dark.
8. Diffuse some essential oils that help instill calm and a good mood. We don’t have a large one for the house yet, but my kids love the small one in our room and they love to get a good whiff of it. It seems to be uplifting!
9. Let your kids take a long, warm, soothing bath. This can also be very calming for anyone. Our daughter in particular knows when needs to relax and is a great advocate for herself when she needs a break or stress relief. Her go to is a bubble bath. Remember how much you love the spa moms.
10. Keep your game face on if you can. Try to make things fun. If you are anxious, they will sense it and feed off of you. Read and pray together if you can. These things always seem to be calming and bring our family peace.
We’re cozy, all shuttered up, prepared, safe, and all together, which is the most important thing.
Stay Safe Everyone.
Matthew, Please Take A Hike.