Keeping Kids Calm and Happy When Inclement Weather Hits This Summer

Flash Flooding

Our main objective is to save you money around here. We want to help you live more affordably, more enjoyably and just better overall. Most of our advice to you is financial, but sometimes we have other helpful things to discuss with you. Weighing heavily on my mind today is bad weather and kids. As I type this, it is mid-morning on Monday, and we are about 12 hours into receiving outer bands from Tropical Storm Colin. I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where I’ve lived my entire 32 years. We are less than 9 miles from the Gulf, and we are what you might call experts in terms of bad weather.

Sustained winds of 50 miles per hour don’t really scare us around here. My husband and I headed outside last night to take the rockers off the front porch, the tables, the plants and the décor and move it all into the garage. We moved all the Adirondack chairs and the fire pit from the back deck, the dining table and chairs from the back deck and even his big grill. We put all the kids’ toys in the garage and we made sure our trees still look good or if anything needed to be trimmed up or cut down really quickly.

Today, we sit and watch as businesses close, camps are cancelled, sports are cancelled and the stores are telling us to get in early and get out early as they are closing, too. Right now my kids are curled up on the couch watching “Frozen,” for the 899th time, and they are happy. I’ve asked them to give me the morning to get things done before the storm makes landfall. Right now we’re facing 20 mph winds, heavy rain and gusts up to 70 mph. It’s not bad, but we will probably lose power at some point, and we’ve learned after living here our entire lives that there is no telling how long it might be out. Back in 2004, we had four storms come through in one summer. Two tropical storms and two hurricanes. The fastest our power came back on during those was 3 days; you just never know.

For those of you who also face this hurricane season, whether you are a first-time parent in the midst of this or you are a hurricane-virgin, I thought I might share with you how we keep our kids from going insanely crazy for the time being – and how we keep them from becoming terrifying when even we begin to feel a little nervous with the high winds and driving rain.

Let them watch television

We don’t typically love for our kids to sit down and watch television all day long. We leave on Mickey or Bubble Guppies for our 2-year-old twins almost all day, but they basically drive by watch; stop to dance to some music or count with the characters and then they’re off once again to do whatever it is they feel the need to do. However, we let the kids watch television as much as they want right now.

Why? Well, they can’t go outside and play, and that is their favorite thing to do. Additionally, we don’t know if or when and for how long we might lose power, so we let them keep their imaginations tamed for now so that they’re not done with that later.

Charge everything

While the power is on, we keep everything on charge so that no battery power is lost for anything. Cell phones, computers, iPads, tablets; you name it, it’s on the charger so if the power goes out, we have full batteries and fewer worries.

Keep an emergency stash

You know you need nonperishable food items, bottled water and candles and batteries and the like; but what about kid stuff? We have a bad weather stash for our kids. Brand new coloring books and crayons, books to read, games, cards and things that they can play with that they’ve never had before. This keeps them happy and very excited. We also like to keep little treats in there for them, too. Their favorite candy is M&Ms so we always have some. We also love to have goldfish crackers for the babies and their favorite apple juice boxes are a must since they’re not allowed to drink anything other than water and milk any other day – juice boxes mean something special.


Most importantly, I cannot reiterate to you enough how important it is that you relax during this time. Your children will be scared, and that’s all right. However, they’ll be far more relaxed if you are relaxed and refrain from showing them your own terror. Your kids need your strength during this type of weather. Good luck to anyone who endures this at any point this hurricane season. And wish us luck; the weather here is starting to deteriorate rapidly and it’s about to go down.

Photo by Getty Images


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