Weather report calling for a winter storm? Make sure you do these things.
The threat of a big winter storm is often a cause of anxiety for parents and caregivers. Having young children to keep occupied and in good spirits can make a winter storm even more challenging. Create a plan or checklist you can turn to when the weather report starts warning of a snowstorm. Here are seven things you may need to do.
- Stock up
An essential way to combat threatening winter weather is to make sure your home is comfortable and well-stocked. Do you have non-perishable food, medical supplies and plenty of drinking water on hand? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends including at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, like protein or fruit bars, crackers, nuts, peanut butter, dry cereal or granola, canned juices, dried fruit, ready-to-eat canned fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.
And a winter storm can feel like a holiday for kids, so have some favorite snacks and goodies on hand, like hot chocolate and s'mores fixings.
- Keep the Kids Entertained
A winter storm can be unpredictable and can leave your family stranded at home for several days. Having games and activities in mind for such occasions can help keep everyone happy and calm.
Go through this list of 101 Things to Do When Kids Say “I’m Bored” and check off ones you want to do.
Lisa Bedford, author of the Survival Mom blog, suggests keeping them to a schedule. “The most important thing to do is put a plan in place. Having a routine really helps.” Try to duplicate your normal routine as best you can, even though you’re stuck at home. Make a list of the things you would normally do (snow or no snow) and make a plan for the day. Add in things like building a fort in the living room or having a movie marathon.
- Contact Any Caregivers
Do you have a regular nanny or sitter? Reach out and make plans for the weather. When will you need them to come watch the kids? Will you still need her if you work from home? What happens if they can't make it due to bad weather? And will you pay your sitter if you cancel?
If you drop your child off at a day care or family child care, check their bad weather policy. How and when will they let you know if they're closing?
And if you have a regular housekeeper, dog walker, etc. who is also scheduled to come, figure out a plan.
- Check on Elderly Relatives, Neighbors or Friends
When facing any inclement weather, make sure the older people in your life are prepared. Do they have enough food and medication to get through a storm? “Check with your pharmacy or insurance on how many days ahead you can get it filled," suggests Dr. James Hubbard, a family physician and author of the Survival Doctor. Try to have three to seven days extra on hand. If they use any medical equipment that runs on electricity, ask the supplier for a substitute if the power goes out.
Does your elderly family member or friend have a caregiver who regularly checks in? What's the plan if the weather is bad, but your loved one still needs help with medication?
And share these 7 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors.
- Prep Your Home
Keeping your home ready for a winter storm is essential to keeping your family happy and safe this winter. Do you have enough flashlights, batteries, blankets, etc. Are your shovels and ice melt stored nearby?
How will you stay warm if the power goes out? Always have a backup heat source that is not reliant on the grid,” shares Daisy Luther, who blogs at The Organic Prepper. “People get desperate when they get cold. Many die during a grid-down winter event, not from the cold, but from their efforts to stay warm. House fires are frequent, so have a reliable heat source and fire extinguishers.”
Bedford suggests setting up a big tent in your living room as a fun way to keep your family warm and entertained. The tent will help keep everyone warm by holding in your family’s body heat and you can have all kinds of family fun in your mock campsite.
Here's a sample winter safety kit for your home to get you started.
- Prep Your Car
In the event you need to leave your home, make sure your car is stocked with a winter emergency kit and fill up on gas before the storm hits. “I keep a stocked kit at all times in my vehicle with first aid supplies, food, water tools and items that can form an improvised shelter," says Luther. "In the winter I add extra warm weather gear and boots for all family members, and sleeping bags,”
Check out this winter safety kit for your car.
- Talk to Your Boss
Are you allowed to work from home if the weather is bad or do you need to come into work? Do you still get paid if you can't make it in? What are expectations if you do work from home? Have these conversations with your employer before bad weather hits.
Get tips on how to work from home on a snow day.