Parent Survival Guide: How to weather the storm!

I usually don’t get caught up in all of the school day cancellations or weather forecasts. I fondly remember the storm that left us without power when I was a child. We lived in the basement near a small fireplace that put off little to no heat. But we got to eat jiffy popcorn (which was a huge treat as my parents would NEVER splurge on something like that), make forts and miss school.

As a grown up with a young child, Hurricane Sandy was eye opening. Though there were so many warnings and we were prepared to get through the storm, one thing that we weren’t prepared for was entertaining a small child. Fortunately for us,  The Kid wasn’t used to electronics as a main form of entertainment, so the transition wasn’t as difficult. According to her, it was one of the best times of her life. So great in fact that she’s actually said out loud that she wishes we could do it again. The magic of childhood and seeing or experiencing things for the first time….

There were some lessons though.

I’m not going to get into providing you with a whole list of groceries that you should keep on hand. If you have a gas stove, you’re pretty golden anyway. If your stove is electric then it’s a bit more difficult and you’ll probably have to rely on bread, peanut butter and jelly, cookies, popcorn, etc.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

This post is more about what you need to survive inside with an active kid for an extended period of time. Or when they’re afraid.

Let’s face it, it’s pretty easy to deal when it’s stormy outside and you’re all snuggly inside with the fireplace going near a good movie.

But what about when the weather’s fierce outside and your child’s afraid? Or when the power’s out?

As much fun as storms can be, they can also be extremely scary to kids. They’re not used to the angry sound of thunder or the long flashes of lightning. It’s a lot to deal with.

Some tips to help calm your kids during a storm:

  • Close the window treatments – curtains or blinds will help muffle the sound and hide lighting. From a safety perspective they may also help protect residents from flying debris if the window breaks (depending on velocity)
  • Use a noise machine – we love our noise machine. Though our house is older, you can still hear conversations from  another room. And I’m pretty sure that our “insulation” is more of the newspaper variety.  A noise machine helps muffle fire engines, traffic, ambulances, people – and – weather related noise. It’s a game changer.
  • Play an interactive game – pictionary, monopoly, charades, blokus…really any game that your kid is going to enjoy. People underestimate the power of games…kids learn a lot from them. From good sportsmanship to math and spelling, there are a lot of benefits!
  • Watch a movie – a movie helps drown out noise. Try to pick something funny instead of scary. Now’s not the time, folks!


When the power’s on, it’s pretty much business as usual. What about when the power’s out?



For, like, 10¢, a balloon gives your kid the chance to burn some energy while also focusing.  And, you can also have them blow up the balloon. Bonus!

Try juggling (ala soccer), wall ball, toss….really anything that can be played with a ball can be played with a balloon. I find that once you mention rules, the kids tune out. But if you say something like, “Check it out! I’m only using my head!” then they’ll soon do the same.


When dressing up is not an every day thing, it can be a great activity for kids. Go through your closet or your husbands – or better yet, let them try some old costumes. Then take some time to create some accessories like beaded necklaces, bracelets, headbands.


Can you do this? Neither can we. So instead of trying to levitate, why not try some magic tricks?


We are big fans of Peppa Pig around here. So how could we resist when our little kid came over and asked in a very British accent if she could go jump in muddy puddles? Since then it’s become quite the tradition…wait for a lull in the storm before heading out and then jump, jump, jump. Yes, your kid is going to get really, really wet. But they’ll love it!


Hurricane Sandy hit here just before Halloween. We took advantage of the holiday and celebrate by creating spooky poster face garlands made out construction paper, markers and yarn. As we continued to go without power we considered creating Thanksgiving decorations too. Thankfully (get it) our power was restored.  But going through a storm is great time to get through some of the crafts you always wished you had done. It doesn’t matter if they don’t look great — your child will remember spending the time with you.


We have our kid help bring in the logs that are stored out back. It’s great for strength building and helps us, too! Younger kids can help bring in smaller pieces while older kids can take in multiple pieces.


It’s not the #1 sport for girls for no reason. Dance is a great way to get rid of some of that extra energy while also having fun! Try making up your own dance or practice some moves like these:


How could we not acknowledge Fortnite?


How can you not make a fort out of pillows, cushions and blankets? Not up for it? Set up a tent near your fire for an indoor camping experience. You’ll find that they’ll entertain themselves inside their secret area for hours (or at least minutes).


Confession. Every time we’ve tried this it’s been a fail….except for the Jiffy Popcorn, which is still as much fun today as it was way back when (we don’t usually have this in our house). But go ahead, try it.  It might work.  Don’t count on it though.


Odds are you’ve got a classic book somewhere in your house. You’ve been meaning to read it, but haven’t gotten around to it. Today’s the day!


Great chance to get your kids thinking about the things they need while without power. You’ll find that they’ll be thinking about non-electronics.


Your kids won’t know that they’re practicing yoga as they focus on becoming a tree or walking on their hands with their legs wrapped around their head. But you will. 🙂 And a good long stretch will help relieve some of the tension that’s building up if they’re that type of kid.




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