Survival, preparedness and other related situations require an incredible amount of mental fortitude. Most of that comes from experience. What about the kids when something happens? Typically they do not have the life experiences to have developed much mental fortitude yet. That is both good and bad, here are some ways you can help them.
They will mirror you
As I mentioned, children do not have much experiences with such things. Their natural inclination is to simply observe their guardians and mirror or mimic what they see. If their parents are scared, the will be scared. If they are laughing, they will laugh too. In these situations it is best to remain calm for several reasons. The first is because you will make better decisions and can think more clearly. You can also be more cognizant of those around you. In the case of this discussion that would help you with the kids.
Have in your disaster kit the normal things that your kids do for entertainment if possible. If they are used to always utilizing some sort of screen for entertainment. Have battery backups for a handheld device. This will help the kids focus on something more than the situation they are in and will help to normalize it as much as possible. If your child likes to read, then grab the book they are reading and bring it to your safe place. This will definitely serve to take the focus away from the disaster. Here is some cold hard truth for you. If you child is nearly dependent upon large screen TVs for video games or watching TV, then you need to start working on fixing your children now. Find ways to engage them in other activities for an occasion such as a disaster.
Games to play
Games to play are definitely age dependent but there are some basics that generic enough that can be used in any setting. The first is card games. Card games are compact, small enough to put in a disaster kit, and do not need much room to play. You do not have to use just a regular deck of cards either. Cranium TM has a number of cards game for various age groups. When my kids were much younger (they are adults now) we used those cards a number of times for such occasions. At that time we lived in a very rural area and lost electrical power regularly (one time for nearly three weeks). Cranium and other board games were invaluable during that time.
Another thing to consider are games where you need absolutely nothing other than your mind to play. An example is “21 Questions” and games like it. If you do not know where to look for such ideas, query a school teacher. School teachers are masters at knowing, utilizing, and sharing games such as these. Games such as these will help children learn and grow for certain but more importantly for survival, they will take the focus away from the event.
Beyond the idea of games, make sure the kids are involved in disaster planning and have their own go-bag. Even the younger kids. In this manner, if an event occurs the kids can utilize their goodies as well. Keeping them part of the activities, also gives them something to focus on rather than themselves.