No lights, no TV, no devices, no life...or so they think! When the electricity is off, the kids can be a handful. Here are five tips for getting through the next blackout with children.
Power outages don’t happen very often, but it’s a good idea to have a plan in place just in case the lights suddenly go out. If you’ve got kids, your plan needs to go beyond just knowing where the torch and the candles are – you need a foolproof electricity-free entertainment plan.
Here are five easy ways you can keep the kids entertained, without a screen.
1. Play actual games
Your phone or tablet may have some battery life left, but it’s a good idea to save that in case something urgent comes up. The good news? There’s an almost endless list of games to play when the power is out. If you have one, head to the games cupboard and choose a board game that everyone loves. Even a simple pack of cards could provide hours of entertainment. Depending on how old your kids are, you could teach them a new card game or just rely on old classics like ‘snap’.
During the day (or at night if the kids are game), hide and seek is always a crowd favourite. If it’s dark, safely set up a few candles or a camp light and let the games begin. If they’re a bit older, try charades or make up a spooky story together by taking it in turns to say a sentence.
2. Get out and about - if it’s safe
Sometimes, power outages occur due to extreme weather conditions; storms can bring down power lines and high temperatures can put stress on the power grid. In such circumstances, it’s probably safer to stay home. Yet if conditions are safe and there is some light left in the day, a blackout can be a great opportunity to head outside with the kids for some fresh air.
Playground equipment is always an option or if you’re into sports, grab a ball and enjoy some active family time. You could also jump on your bikes and go for a ride.
3. Pay a visit
If you know people who live nearby – especially other families with kids – you could pay them a visit. You might find them sitting in stunned silence, staring at the blank television, wondering what to do. Take over some non-refrigerated snacks and turn it into a family play date.
If it’s safe to do so you can visit friends or relatives (making sure to be cautious of any traffic light outages). Let the kids choose who to visit. Socialising is a great way to spend time away from electronics and the kids will enjoy the spontaneity. Plus, the people you visit might have power, so bring along your phone chargers just in case.
4. Get crafty
If it’s easier or safer to stay at home, take gameplay one step further by drawing, painting or making things. Depending on what materials you have lying around the house, try working together to create a zoo of animals from paper, sticky tape, cotton balls, aluminium foil or anything else you can safely get your hands on.
If all you’ve got at hand is paper and pencils, sit in a circle and draw a portrait of the person sitting next to you. Doing art and craft together is a wonderful way to spend time with your kids and enjoy their company.
Why not? The ages of the kids in your company will determine whether this is feasible, but for older children or teenagers, the chance to go to bed at a random time of the day could be just what they need. Lying quietly in the dark – whether they actually fall asleep or not – is great for busy brains.
The final word
In our hyper-connected world, children can get a little cranky when there’s no access to computers, TVs, video games or devices, but it’s possible to turn an unexpected power outage into a fun morning, afternoon or evening with your kids. In fact, you may all find yourselves a little disappointed when the lights flick on again.