Today I want to touch a little bit on situations in which we have power outages. Many of our kiddos here are very dependent on technology for leisure and recreation. Your therapists, particularly your OTs, are working very hard on developing other types of leisure skills so that there are other types of interests your kiddos can turn to. We know they all love their iPads and the computer, and they all love certain shows they can watch. But we are constantly working on developing other leisure skills so that when a power outage happens, we have options.
This will be easier for some kids than others, and for some even developing one additional leisure skill could take a year of working on it and finding awareness.
Your Calmness is Key
When your power is out, just like when anything else happens your kiddo is going to respond to your reaction. If you are freaking out, they are probably going to freak out. My suggestion would be for you to go into your closet, shut the door, and freak out alone. Then, come out with a smile on your face and be creative and talk about the activities you’re going to do! We need to stay ahead of the curve on this, rather than behind the curve.
One activity I think is fun when there’s no power and it’s dark, is to pretend that we are camping! Let’s put the tent up! Let’s roll out sleeping bags! Let’s put on our heavy clothes and sit by the fire (if you have a fire that can work)! Make it into a game! I love the expression “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” So figure out something that might be fun for your kids to do.
You can put any variation you can think of here. Maybe you can play flashlight tag. Whatever you can think up!
I have clients who love to play Uno. You can play Uno for hours! You can just match cards by suit if that’s what your kid is able to do!
During our extended power outage, the only option many people had was to do puzzles or coloring by candlelight. Bring out those things you think might work in the moment. However, it’s better to prepare for alternate leisure methods ahead of time rather than introducing them in the middle of a crisis.
Advice From Your Child’s Therapist
Talk to your therapists! They have great ideas for games that are leisure activities or games your kiddos like and that are preferred. That way you can have those things on hand ahead of time for when they’re needed. (And make sure you don’t forget where you put them!)
Also, think about things like food. If your kiddo is a picky eater, don’t ever run out of that one item that they will always eat! Make sure you always have a bag or two so that when an emergency happens and you can’t get that item, you’ll have a backup. Just like we plan for trips, we can plan for emergencies in the home. We will probably never again have an outage like we did this year, but we never know when we might be out of power.
As part of your planning ahead, you can also download favorite movies on an iPad so that you’ll have them handy if needed.
Emergencies like this will go smoothly if you can plan in advance. So remember, stay calm, and put a plan together. And talk to your therapists, because they have some awesome ideas to share with you!