Our family was new to Houston when Hurricane Ike hit in 2008. We had just moved into a new home and had two young children. We struggled with whether to stay in our house and monitor the situation, or to head north toward familiar land and watch from afar via TV. In the end, we decided to stay. Hurricane Ike came ashore as a Category 2 (nearly a Category 3) storm and we swore that we would never stay with a storm stronger then that, but here we are “hunkering down” and ready for Hurricane Harvey! With that said, though, here are some easy last minute hurricane tips for you and your kids.
- Pull out the candles. In our home, we rarely use candles. We have a box of candles that only come out at Christmas and special occasions. Not only will candles provide light if you lose power, but they are also relaxing and give a calm aura.
- Get out the glow necklaces and bracelets. We weren’t sure how long we would be without electricity when Ike came ashore. When the power goes out during the night, it becomes strangely black. So, we put glow bracelets on each child so that (a) we could find them and (b) they might not panic.
- Have a safe place. Hurricane Harvey isn’t predicted to bring sustained bad winds for the Houston area. But, just in case, make sure you have a closet or another safe place where you can go. In our house, we have a closet that runs under the stairway. If there’s an emergency or a tornado (those can spark from Hurricane winds), we’ll head to the closet. We put our daycare nap mats and a bag of toys/stuffed animals in the closet during Ike. The kids played in the closet and took their naps in there because it was fun! Anything you can do that makes the storm less scary for kids – do it!
- Think past bottled water. Yes, you need bottled water. But, more then that, you need water to flush the toilet. Fill your bathtub(s) and every pitcher/container that you have with water. Then, should your water supply be cut off – you can still flush!
- Get cash today. It’s good to have some cash on hand during events like this. If you are like me and NEVER have any cash, stop by an ATM and get some. If you lose power, the ATMs won’t work – and you might need to pay for something along the way.
- Make it a game for the kids. Storms can be scary, especially once the photos of devastation come across the airwaves. If you live inland like me, the first photos will make the news before the storm has come across my suburb. We took the kids outside and let them feel the wind in their hair, buy a rain gauge and let them track the rainfall, whatever you can do to make them feel included and a part of the preparation (fill pitchers, organize flashlights, etc.)
- Keep your shoes handy. God forbid you need to leave your house in a hurry, but if so, you don’t want to only be able to find flip flops. If that case were to arise, you want tennis shoes or the like. We will line up our tennis shoes in the entry hall so they are handy if we need them.
- Use the eyes of your pet. Finally, as funny as it may be, look at things through the eyes of your pet. Whatever is near to the floor — 0-24″ ground level — would you be ok losing it? That’s what you are looking at losing if flood waters enter your home.
What is your hurricane tip? I’d love to hear how you are preparing for the storm!