Prepping is the act of becoming more prepared and can be challenging in its own right. Some families must prepare for tornados or hurricanes. Others, like mine, prepare for earthquakes, volcanoes, or flooding. It all depends on where you live.
As a family, we are preparing for disasters that may happen. Experience has taught us it is better to be prepared before preparation is needed. As our family prepares together, we are teaching our little guys how to prep.
Prepping with Little Ones is not always Easy
Little Ones – in my case, a 3-year old and a 5-year old – add unique variables into our prepping goals. We encourage our four boys to help with age-appropriate prepping activities. My little two often “help put food away” by taking just-placed items off the shelf.
My husband and I have struggled at times to meet our prepping goals. Prepping goals apply to water and food storage, defense, shelter, and your plans to react based on potential situations.
Some things to ponder
• Do you have a garden?
• Do you can what you grow?
• Where will you store extra water and food?
• What items will you need for the next year based on ages and medical needs of those in the home?
• Do you have a brand new baby or a potty-training toddler? (Diaper needs are different.)
Diapers! Storing diapers was a challenge. How many of what size do we store? Since our youngest is now out of diapers, we have removed it from our “Need to Store” list. We know as our youngest two continue to get older, our goals will continue to change.
We all know diapers are super absorbent. In an emergency, use them to help pack a bleeding wound. A side note about items like diapers…If you plan on having items to “barter” for goods or services (welding, for example) when cash on hand no longer works, items like diapers may help.
I am not saying to fill shelves with diapers. Perhaps store a box or two. If you change your mind about storing diapers and no longer need them, please consider donating to a local food bank or shelter.
Prepare Now for Possible Disasters and Evacuation
The area I live in has had numerous power outages, a couple of earthquakes, plus Mount Saint Helen’s erupting in 1980. Severe storms in our area have caused trees to down power lines, flooding, wild fires, landslides. A couple of times we have been without power for a week.
I know for my little guys, a simple power outage can become stressful fast. They expect lights to be on (neither are fond of the dark), the TV to be available, and the house at a comfortable temperature.
Create an Emergency Plan and Kit
Include a section in your Family Emergency Plan for the little ones. This will help you and others caring for them to know what they like. Examples of what to have in this section might be favorite color, song, and TV character (Transformers’ Bumble Bee is the favorite for my two).
Consider having a small backpack set aside for each little one with child-specific items (favorite blanket, toy, game, or book) to help ease the stress if evacuation is required. Print out a note with their favorites, any medical or food needs, and contact information for you.
Place the note in a zippered plastic bag or laminate it to prevent it from getting wet. Help others help your little ones by giving them basic details from the get-go.
Creating a Family Communication Plan is important.
If your children are in day care or attend different schools, how will you communicate with care providers during the disaster? (Remember cell phones are not a guaranteed form of communication.)
Our family (three of us, so far) have our Amateur Radio Licenses (commonly known as “Ham Radio Operators”). We chose to get the licenses and radios so we are able to communicate when the power grid and cell towers are down.
What will you need for your little ones in an emergency?
Remember, in a disaster situation, the only true needs are shelter, water, food, and warmth.
Typical Items for Baby (Birth to 2 years)
• Diapers (cloth or disposable), diaper rash ointment, and wipes
• Feeding supplies for baby (pump, formula, bottles, pacifiers, and baby food)
• Car seat, stroller, play pen, and crib
Common Items for Toddlers and Older (3 years and up)
• Food, utensils, plates, and sippy cups
• Underwear (the pull-up kind or training pants)
• Car seat and toddler bed
Usual Items for Little Ones of All Ages
• Ora-Jel, teething tablets, and children’s medications
• Special toys and blankets
• Clothes, underwear, coat, hat, and shoes
Update Emergency Plan and Kit Every Six Months
Every six months, update the Plan and kits. When your toddler starts eating “grown up” table food, use or donate (if not expired) remaining baby food from the pantry and kits. Remember to include changes in medical care needs like new medications, allergies to food and medication, or surgical procedures (list the dates) in your plan and backpack note.
Remove outgrown clothing and shoes. Replace with those too-big-right-now items to allow for a growth spurt before you check the sizes again.
You may not need to prep for little ones if none live with you. If you have grandchildren or other youngsters who visit often, keep a 72-hour kit for each child in an easy-to-grab location for emergency use.
Be Prepared Away from Home
Have a 72-hour kit for each person who could be in your vehicle. So, if your vehicle seats eight, have eight kits. If you only have three kits because you normally have two kids with you, how do you share three kits if you have eight people in the car when disaster stricks? Does each vehicle have an Emergency Kit of its own?
Being Prepared Requires Constant Action
Being prepared does not happen overnight. It takes time to make decisions on what you need to prepare for, how long you want to be prepared for, and who you are preparing to support during a disaster.
Preparing for disasters with little ones can be done. It may require more patience and certain items (like diapers or baby food) to have on hand for a time. Take your prepping goals one goal at a time. Focus on keeping your family sheltered, warm, fed, and enough water to last. Family is important and this is why we prep together as a family, little ones included.
How ready are you to evacuate with your little ones RIGHT NOW???
I’m Adrienne Z. Milligan, a Washington State native, where I live with my husband as we homeschool our four boys. I began writing at age six and still prefer writing pen to paper than on fingers on a keyboard. Since co-authoring and publishing my first book, The Gluten-Free Way: My Way in 2009, I continue to write professionally as a published author and freelance journalist. I love baking, doing genealogy research with my husband, visiting friends and family, small-scale mining, reading, and soaking in the sunshine (both the warm and liquid types which we receive in Western Washington). http://www. adriennezmilligan.com.