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Parenting Without Power: Got Any Stir-Crazy Kid Tips?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Sandy hit the east coast as hard as they predicted and though we were definitely spared the worst of it, our town and our house is completley without power. It's only been 48 hours so far but there is no sign of us getting electricity back any time soon. My kids have been great but I don't know how much longer I can count on that so I'm asking for some help!

We've been holed up together since Sunday and so far so good. We were super lucky to be spared--only a few trees down and no major damage--but we, like so many other families, are still feeling the effects. The biggest so far: No heat, no electricity, no hot water for showers--ick! I am not complaining and Nick and I are also lucky that we work from home (schools cancelled, can't reach babysitters), but working is near impossible when you have no power/cell service and kids up in your grill. We do have a generator which has helped in terms of keeping food fresh and cells charged and giving us enough light in the kitchen at night to eat. And Nick rigged up some wifi, which is how I'm posting this. But all of it is spotty and unreliable. Again, minor problems compared to what other people around us are dealing with. But since I know there are a lot of other people in our boat (trying to parent without power) I thought we could talk about this particular inconvenience today.

Like I said, the kids have been awesome. We've been coloring, reading, making forts, cutting paper (Nora's new favorite activity), having dance parties (with itunes on the ipad), we've carved pumpkins, we've built lego towers, we've played soccer, baseball, football, and tons of other sports in our backyard (once we deemed it safe to go outside yesterday evening), we've even been able to watch a little emergency TV at night thanks to the generator. The kids are actually more interested in adventures and creative play, which I love, I just hope we don't run out of ideas. We really can't go anywhere (everything's closed and there are no traffic lights which makes driving dangerous, plus a ton of street closures) so it's up to us to entertain. Which is why I'm (quickly, while I have a pocket of service) reaching out to all of you. How do you keep your kids entertained on days when you can't leave the house/yard and electricity is not an option? Halloween is also not happening (too dangerous to trick or treat when there are no streetlights and no one has power and there are tree limbs still hanging waiting to fall), so we need to deal with that as well. Will probably put on costumes and eat candy for dinner--we're running low on real food, anyway! There's a good chance the kids will be home with us the rest of the week so I'm just asking for any and all ideas for keeping them happy and entertained and, possibly, giving me a little quiet time to work. These deadlines aren't going to meet themselves. 

Hope everyone is safe! If you're able to celebrate Halloween where you are, enjoy it!

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