Using Everyday Items to Reduce Anxiety
Children are not likely to fully understand the threat posed to people and to property by a hurricane. They may not be able to define in adult terms what is meant by a “survival kit”.
Still even quite little children do pick up on the vibrations in their home from parents and sense when something unusual is about to happen.As a storm approaches, parents have many tasks to attend to which require their time and energy.
Still setting aside some time to help younger children prepare their own survival kit can help them to feel safe and secure and perhaps lessen parental anxiety as well.
The Box. To make a reusable child’s hurricane survival kit you will want to begin with some type of container that is water proof and if possible has a water tight cover.
You may have something like this already. If you have the time to purchase a container precisely for this purpose that’s fine, but if not, then let one of those plastic tubs you are using as toy or book boxes serve.
If you don’t have a waterproof container then you might try to simply use a cardboard box but remember to store it in whatever room you have identified as your safe room or at least, when the survival kit it is complete get it up off the floor to avoid potential water damage.
Remember when you are making the box that it is much more important to work on this project together than it is for everything about it to be perfect.
Explain to your child as you choose the container you will use that this is his or her box to put things into that will help to keep them 1.safe, 2. happy and 3. busy if the weather gets bad or if the lights go out for a little while .
Talking a little bit about the coming storm makes sense, talking calmly as the person in charge and the one who is quite confident makes even more sense.
Depending on how much time you have, you may want to suggest that your child decorate the survival kit in some way. Younger children may simply want to put their name or some stickers on the box.
Older children may want to put the name of the approaching hurricane somewhere on their survival kit. Kids can create a positive image for their box by decorating it with pictures of sunshine and blue skies .
Postcards from sunny locations can be glued to all sides of the box . Letting your children take ownership of their box also allows them to feel just a little bit more in charge of their environment,even the approaching hurricane.
Working together on a child’s hurricane survival kit can also help to pass time when you may not really want your children to be any place but at home and inside.
Things That Keep Them Safe. The most important thing that needs to go in a child’s hurricane survival kit are things that will help to keep him or her safe. Talk with your children about the safety issues posed by a hurricane. Concentrate on those things that the age of your child allows them to understand.
Most children working on a child’s hurricane survival kit are old enough to l understand what happens when their community loses electricity. They may recognize the need for doing something to replace the light.
Among the things that you will want your child to include in a child’s hurricane survival kit is a flashlight and some back up batteries. If he or she has a cell phone that may be included with appropriate batteries.
According to the age of your child, you might discuss what other simple first aid materials might go in the box , like small bandages, anti-bacterial spray or wipes. Your child may come up with some original ideas after you give him or her a peak at what is in the family’s first aid kit.
Children who happen to be Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts may actually teach parents a few things about packing a survival kit for safety. There is no need to duplicate all that is in the family kit, but it is helpful to allow your child to feel as if he is helping to manage his own safety and that it is important to pay attention to following directions to stay safe during a hurricane.
Things That Keep Them Happy. Lots of things make kids happy and of course different kids are pleased by different things. So let your son or daughter really take the lead in telling you which things that make him or her happy and so need to find their way into the child’s hurricane survival kit.
What can go in will of course depend upon what size box you are using. But among the things that make most kids happy are likely to be a few non-perishable snack items, one of their favorite stuffed animals, dolls or toy model.
The things they pack to help keep them happy should be things that will help to create a comfort zone wherever they are, even if it is necessary to go to a shelter.
It isn’t necessary to talk to young children about the possibility of evacuation from their home to a shelter unless that possibility really presents itself.
The idea of a child’s hurricane survival kit is supposed to lend comfort to children not raise their anxiety level. According to your own judgment and your child’s emotional makeup and age you may mention that what goes in the box will be helpful to make them feel at home.
This may send older kids back to find a few pictures, a lucky charm or two, some baseball cards or other favorite items. Being as happy as possible either hunkered down at home or elsewhere is important to both your emotional and physical survival.
Things That Keep Them Busy . You know the kinds of things that kids turn to on a rainy day to while away the hours. These are the kinds of things that should also find their way into a child’s hurricane survival kit.
They can start with a few favorite books or magazines , some hand held games, coloring books, crayons, small crafts.
Kids may also throw in puzzles, board games, paper dolls, scissors or action figures. There are no right or wrong things to add to a child’s hurricane survival kit to keep them busy.
Kids pretty much know what they can’t last without, that’s what needs to get packed in a child’s hurricane survival kit.
The parent’s role here can be to simply make certain that children have not neglected some special time filler that you know they eventually will want . Without instructing them what to take, you can gently ask if they forgot that special toy or game and then allow them to decide if they want to pack it up or not.
You might also ask questions like, “What would you do if you wanted to write something down or you decided to draw a picture?” Subtle and even a little less than subtle hints can be helpful, parents merely need to make sure that this box really is a child’s hurricane survival kit, not a survival kit that a parent told a child to make. There is a big difference in the contents and in the benefits of making those two very different kinds of boxes.
The Child’s Survival Kit and the Mood. There are two very important reasons for helping your son or daughter to prepare a child’s hurricane survival kit. The first is obvious.
Should the hurricane arrive and knock out your power and leave your family isolated for a few days, or make it necessary for you to seek shelter elsewhere, it will really help you and your children if they have their very own survival kit with things included that will help to keep them safe, happy and busy.
But, secondly, the creation of a child’s hurricane survival kit is a wonderful tool which can be used by parents as a simple conversation starter to share thoughts about the approaching storm with their children.
As your children pack up what they think will be of help, they will feel positive about what they are doing.
Being proactive, even when you are five, is a good way to head off anxiety and upset . but don’t forget, there is no need to make the creation of a survival kit into anything other than getting ready for some bad weather.
Kids for the most part will see an approaching storm and the potential for the loss of power as an adventure. Working with them on their own survival kit can help them to see it as an adventure for which they are well prepared.