If you have children, obviously any emergency preparations you make must include them in the mix. Whether it is putting together a home evacuation kit or preparing for a possible total societal collapse, you have to factor in the needs of the littlest members of your clan. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
In an emergency situation, you are likely to be a little freaked out. No matter what is going on, seeing a parent stressed out, frightened, or upset increases the stress to the child enormously. Kids seem to have an almost supernatural gift for sensing a parent’s dismay. No matter how well you try to hide it, your child will know something is up. Like everyone else, kids fear the unknown. As best you can, explain to your children what is going on and, perhaps just as important, explain what YOU are going to do about it. If you have planned in advance for emergencies, you’ll not only feel more comfortable when the inevitable happens but you’ll be in a better position to calm your children.
In all bug out kits and evacuation supplies, be sure to include a few “comfort” things for your kids. A small toy or stuffed animal can mean the world to your child. It will give them something to hold, to occupy their time, and perhaps just be a little bit of “home away from home.” For older children, a book to read can be a godsend. A small notebook with a few pens will allow them to draw or write. Doing so will give them a possible outlet for their thoughts and worries as well as just giving them something to do while you figure out the next move.
Comfort foods are another way to help reduce you and your child’s stress. In your pantry, keep a small box of this type of food to break out during an emergency. Consider including things like hard candy, chocolate, bagged popcorn, or chips. You know, the fun stuff that’s no good for you, has no nutritional value, but damn if it ain’t tasty.
Above all, remember that as you look skyward and wonder what will happen next, your child is looking to you and asking the same thing. When that happens, smile and say, “It’ll be alright. I have a plan.”