Dealing with the aftermath of a severe weather event, such as superstorm Sandy, is hard enough. Add children to the equation and it's a heck of a lot harder.
You know you can get through it -- power outages, house or car damage, downed trees -- but it can be challenging when your kids don't understand what's going on and you're stuck in the house.
My husband and I have been trying to keep things together at home with our almost 20-month-old daughter, Maggie. She doesn't have a clue about what we just experienced but she is definitely noticing that things are different.
During the day, she's content playing with her abundance of toys. But at night, regardless of candles and flashlights, she knows something isn't right. Maggie's always been a good sleeper but the past two nights she's been afraid to go to bed.
So we've had to get creative. She typically goes to sleep with a projector that plays soothing music and displays a slideshow of sheep, the moon and stars on the ceiling. So last night, we played music on an iPhone to help her fall asleep. We also kept a battery-operated candle in her room all night, which helped.
Here are some things we've been doing that might also help you pass the time with your little ones:
Buddy up to neighbors. I was so concerned about keeping Maggie's milk on ice. One of our neighbors has a generator and allowed us to hook our fridge up to it. This way, for now, food and drinks aren't an issue.
Be creative with games. Last night, we invited our neighbors and their kids over. We ordered food and had a hurricane party. The kids loved playing what we called the 'flashlight game.' One person shines a flashlight around the room and whoever spots it first wins. Another game we played was freeze dance. My husband played music on his iPhone and everyone danced until the music stopped. The person who took the longest to stop dancing was out.
Go old school. Maggie and I had a picnic using her play food. We also had music class where we banged on pots and pans, played dress up with her Halloween costume and had a puppet show with her stuffed animals. She loved it!
Read, read, read. During the day, we've been cycling through all her books.
Play-doh. Enough said.
Have an arts and crafts party. We used coloring books to make artwork and hung it all around our house. We taped the masterpieces to the computer screen, the fridge, the TV (it distracts her from realizing it's not working.) We also made pictures for her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Enjoy the quiet time. I'm enjoying something I'm not usually able to do -- nap. Tuesday, Maggie and I fell asleep together in the afternoon, something we haven't done since she was an infant.
What have you been doing with your kids in the house without power? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.