Power outages can be especially tricky if you have small children. Losing electricity can be an inconvenience for you and frightening for kids. Plus, no power means no screens or Internet, so you’ll want to prepare activities to keep your youngsters occupied.
This article will give power outage tips and tricks to keep kids safe, calm, and entertained during a blackout.
Power Outage Safety Tips
Although power outages are most common during a storm, they can occur anytime. And while most are brief, others can last for extended periods. So it’s necessary to be prepared and have supplies for the whole family.
Before a Power Outage
Prepare an emergency pack for your family. It’s essential to have supplies lasting for at least three days. Our Grab + Go Box can help you assemble the kit.
An emergency kit, in general, should contain non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, a portable radio, and anything else personalized to your family, such as baby formula, medicines, pet food, etc. Pack one in case you need to relocate.
Buy flashlights for all family members. Having one for each kid will help to keep them entertained. Don’t forget to get extra batteries.
Plug sensitive electrical appliances and devices into a surge-protected power strip to prevent damage from a possible surge. That’ll ensure your kids’ video game console doesn’t get ruined.
Make sure to have enough water and food for everyone in the family. Stock non-perishable items such as canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, cereal, granola, boxed milk, peanut butter, canned juice, protein bars, and foods for infants (if you have one).
If you are a breastfeeding parent who pumps and stores milk, make sure to have a manual pump handy—store breast milk in the back of the freezer to keep it coldest.
Buy portable chargers and keep your cell phone charged so you can make any needed calls.
It would be helpful to have a friend or family member’s house or somewhere to relocate, weather permitting, but if not, here are some things you can do to stay safe at home.
During a Power Outage
Use battery-powered flashlights instead of candles to prevent fires. This is essential if you have small children!
Ensure your kids do not open and close the refrigerator and freezer doors. Limiting the number of times will help to keep the food cold for as long as possible.
Eat perishable food first and keep non-perishables stocked.
Keep the backup generator away from children. Never turn it on inside your home, garage, or near a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, ensure you have a battery-powered backup for the carbon monoxide detector.
If it’s raining or flooding outside, don’t let kids go near puddles of water. Keep them indoors.
Summer Power Outage Tips - How to Keep Children Cool
Summer blackouts can be uncomfortable and sweaty. This section will provide some power outage tips and tricks to stay cool.
- Stock up on water. It’s essential to stay hydrated during a summer power outage—store about 1 gallon of water per person for at least three days.
- Open windows to create a natural breeze through the house.
- Use battery- or solar-powered fans. You can place the fan on the window sill to create maximum ventilation.
- Dress your kids in lightweight, cool clothes or no clothes at all. Cotton and polyester are breathable fabrics.
- You can dampen a sheet in extreme heat to cover them while sleeping.
- Play in cooler parts of your house, like in the basement.
- Try to stay inside. If your kids are begging to go outside, stay in the shade and wet their heads.
Winter Power Outage Tips - How to Keep Children Warm
This section is imperative if you live in a place that has cold weather. Young children and infants can be at risk for hypothermia. Here are some tips for keeping warm.
- Choose one room where the family and pets can gather during the power outage. The room should have minimal windows to maximize heat.
- Layer them up with warm clothing. Wool, faux fur, and fleece are snug fabrics to wear.
- Keep warm blankets around the house.
- Cover the doors and windows leading to the exterior with blankets and sheets for additional insulation. Roll up towels and use them to cover the cracks under the doors. You can tell the kids you’re making the house into a secret fort.
- Play active games to keep them moving.
Get tips on how to prepare for a winter power outage here.
Ways to Entertain Kids During a Power Outage
Take advantage of the power outage to spend more time playing with your kids. Keeping them distracted and entertained will also help them stay calm. So embrace your inner child and try these fun games and activities.
- Build a fort in your living room. Use cushions, sheets, and furniture. Get creative. Decorate it with battery-powered fairy lights if you have some.
- Inside “camping.” If you have the space, you can set up a tent indoors. Use flashlights and lanterns to make it feel more realistic. You can sleep together in a tent at night to stay warm.
- Flashlight tag. Chase your kids around the house, trying to “catch” them with the light of the flashlight.
- Tell stories or read books. You can use a flashlight to do this if it’s nighttime.
- Play board games, cards, charades, or do a puzzle.
- Do yoga or stretching.
- Buy glow sticks and dance in the dark. You can also make up a dance routine.
- Do arts and crafts. Draw, paint, do origami, and make friendship bracelets, jewelry, or collages.
- Clean and organize the house together. Or redecorate. Look through old photo albums if you have some.
- Play hide and seek or dress up.
- Have a family slumber party. Move the mattresses to the living room and sleep together. Sleeping together can help kids not to get scared at night without a nightlight.