Kids & Pets During a Disruptive Event

Level 1 Prepping & Preparedness

While we concern ourselves with the basics of prepping and preparedness, it is likewise important to consider our kids and pets!

They have unique needs too and your life will be a whole lot easier if you plan your preparedness around them as well.

During an “event” which requires the implementation of your preparedness plan, your kids (depending on their age) might become anxious, scared, or even excited. It’s best to recognize that this may happen and to deal with it in a way that will settle and calm them.

Your young kids might be better off not knowing the extent of the “event” that you’re dealing with. That’s a judgement call on your part. Be aware that your own anxiety will definitely transfer to your kids, so remain calm yourself.

Kids are easily distracted. Take advantage of that and get them involved with some activities that may be fun for them during the time period. Chances are that the electricity will be off, so they may be going through gadget-withdrawal.

Time to refocus on fun things that don’t require electricity to remain entertained…

Here are a few ideas:

Favorite Board Games For Kids

It helps if the board games are those that parents like too! It also helps if you actually get them involved with learning a game or two before you actually “need” to distract them – plus it’s just good family time…

Scrabble (amzn)
Sorry (amzn)
Battleship (amzn)
Chutes and Ladders (amzn)
Chess (amzn)
Checkers (amzn)
Monopoly (amzn)
Candy Land (amzn)
Operation Game (amzn)
Connect 4 (amzn)

Card games

Obviously games are age-dependent. What are some of your favorites with the kids?

Things To Do With Your Kids When The Power Is Out

Besides board games, arts-and-crafts are often a good way to pass the time. Have plenty of paper, pencils, crayons, tape, etc.. to keep the hands and minds of the little one’s occupied.

Step outside and go for a walk with your kids. Check on the neighbors to see if they’re alright.

If it’s appropriate, get them involved with whatever you’re doing.

Books! Get them reading. Discover where their interests are peaked when it comes to books and get them some… from the library, from the book store, Amazon, etc..

Kids Books Ages 2-4 (Amazon books)

Kids Books Ages 4-8 (Amazon books)

Kids Books Ages 6-8 (Amazon books)

Kids Books Ages 9-12 (Amazon books)

Outdoor activities: Most kids love to play outdoors, so have a variety of outdoor games, balls, etc.. that suits their age group.

Have any more ideas?

Cautions: Be aware of potential safety issues. When the lights are out, accidents can happen due to (yes you guessed it) “poor lighting”. Be especially cautious if you decide to use candles – especially with kids in the house. Don’t leave any unattended. Flashlights and LED lanterns are much better and safer.

[ Read: I love this LED lantern! ]

Infants: Preparedness for infants involves simply having enough extra formula and diapers to make it through the “down time”. For short term (level-1) prepping and preparedness chances are that you already have enough, given that you go through this stuff like crazy… – but just keep that in mind.

Preparedness For Pets

Although easier to deal with, your pets may also feed off of your own anxiety and will itself become anxious (e.g. dogs). This is one of the secrets to being in control of your dog in general – you being the “alpha dog” to your own dog while being in calm, firm control.

The rest is simply having enough pet food on hand.

In case you need to leave your residence, it may prove to be very helpful to have a copy of your pets vaccinations kept in your vehicle, especially Rabies – which is often required proof if you need to stay in a motel (although some don’t check this). I discovered that LaQuinta hotels are all pet-friendly. Good to know…

Okay, hope that helps. Look forward to your own thoughts on this…

[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]


  1. My wife and I try to keep at least 1 1/2 bags of dog food on hand for our dog but sometimes it’s not possible (she’s an older dog and needs special food) and we don’t have children, yet. Although, we already have several board games that we enjoy playing without kids! We have an evacuation to her parents house, who live outside the city and are on well water but still need to get them hooked up solar to be truly off grid.

  2. We also have bingo. I have small candy bars and other treats to pay out to the bingo winners. If things are very stressful, this just might be enough of a distraction for everyone.

  3. We have lots of cards and board games and community build puzzles! I put up freeze dried ice cream (nasa style), lots of popping corn and powdered butter and peanut butter for toppings as treats for the spirits (young and old) I also put up a lot of freeze dried fruits to add to kids oatmeal (kids of all ages), and other items to make kids stuff seem different from day to day. No food boredom here. I have a very large kids library and lots of cuddle toys and fleece style blankets (the kids call them bangies) to “soften” the blow of “mass sleep-ins” We have multiple 4 inch foam pads that we put down on the kids living room floor and cover with sheets and bangies when they have sleep overs. They love it, feels like camping out! Always lots to do around this place. have never heard them say they are bored.
    For preserved pet food, we have lots of rice that gets cooked in beef bone broth with scrap beef (including bones) thrown in. Works great. (no gmo corn fillers here.)

  4. We have lots of toys for the grandkids one of my favorites is a Spirograph drawing set with multiple colored pins. This is a relatively a quiet activity and keeps the grandkids occupied for hours.

  5. The following may be the hardest thing to get young kids to do and harder still for parents to understand why it is necessary for kids to remain silent and still. I have taken my grandkids deer hunting at the ranch and it is nearly impossible to get them to remain still and silent. During a SHTF event looters, villains, etc. may be near by and remaining hidden may be necessary for survival. Wild animals know well the value of remaining out of site and sound for survival. Of course experienced hunters know this as well.

  6. We live quite a ways out in the middle of no where, and I really can’t think of any reason we would evacuate aside from radiation drifting our way. With normal wind patterns, that would be extremely unusual to get a radiation cloud from any of the large cities that are close (Chicago is 200 miles away, Indy about 90 miles, and Fort Wayne 20 miles to the north). Having said that, thank you Ken for pointing out the LaQuinta pet policy. We would definitely be bring pets and their extra food with us. My kids are 16, 13, 9, and 8. They each have their own B.O.B. with things I have put into it and things they have chosen to put into it. The younger ones have put some small games and toys in theirs and the older ones each have a book or two. As there is much to do on our homestead, they are used to work. In a SHTF scenario, there would be plenty of work to keep them busy as well. Regarding dog food, our local supply store is now used to me coming in and buying 5 large bags of dog food at a time. They used to look at me like I was crazy. The other advantage to this is I always take advantage of their 10 or 15 percent off specials they run every couple of months. As for baby formula and diapers, I am so glad we are no longer stockpiling those!

    1. There’s adult diapers as well. Not a bad item to include. There’s always the possibility that someone won’t be able to care for themselves at some point, or that you end up caring for someone else’s child.

  7. Backgammon, dominoes and Chinese checkers are also lots of fun for older kids. We have friends with smaller, travel versions of several games including backgammon and Battleship – good idea if you are working with limited space.

  8. Well first of all my ‘pet’, Blue, is my kid. Or should I say I’m his ‘kid’? We both know who the boss in the household is.

    Well my ‘kid’ actually seems to be extremely aware of my ‘anxiety’ or moods, seems he always knows when something is ‘not right’ and will act accordingly, so if/when TSHTF depending on what it is of course, Blue could a real asset, or just a PITA again.

    Preparing for him is/was easy, sealed up (and rotated out) 50 pound bags of dried food, a few cases of wet-canned-food and a couple of bags of cheap Tennis Balls. I have also laid up some extra Pet-Antibiotics and some extra sutures, wound care items in the Med-Kit. A vet may be hard to find if/when TSHTF and having a sliced up dog is something you’ll have to take care of yourself. Very important, the Medical Records have a copy in your BOB, GHB, GOOD Bag, INCH Bag. Also have some recent photos in case you get separated. Honestly Blue is my best friend, and I will treat him as-such in a time of crises.

    I could only imagine the ciaos that would arise with a few ‘rug-rats’ running around if TSHTF in any way what-so-ever and Mom or Dad started to freak out. Ken said “Be aware that your own anxiety will definitely transfer to your kids, so remain calm yourself”. I would suggest that anyone with ‘kids’ practice the “Lights Out Weekends” so they are not tossed into something they have never done before, make if fun, make it something they are not afraid of, MAKE A PLAN!!!!!! And practice it, do fire drills, make a place to meet-up, teach your kids what to do when you have a “safe-word” that you yell so they will know what to do even if it’s as simple as dropping to the floor and hiding. Practice Practice PRACTICE.


  9. What a fantastic post Ken, thank you! This will help a lot of people.
    Thank you for posting links for games and books, easy for us, and hopes to benefit the running of this blog!

    You all have such great advice too, well said everyone…

    We have lots of hair, fur, and feather “kids” here too.
    Minimum about 6 months supply of food chickens/sheep/rabbit
    my small little birds quails (aka quaily-o’s)2 years supply

    keeping large waterers important too, Walmart still has nice I think 2 gallon ones on sale $14.97 have those for cats, in case you were away during an event… or if you hade to BI or BO, keep water/food and also waste removal containers available at several locations

    Our DDs are near teen and teen and informed as informed can be at their age…we talk and pray about current events and how we can learn to live sustainably….

    With that, we have a good book collection, could use a few more for DDs, plenty of art supplies, especially blank page sketch books (various sizes) for writing or drawing
    some board games too.

    As someone mentioned earlier, I like the idea of mini games that do not take up much space, need to look into that.

    Quail moment: I have a bobwhite quail age 3 weeks, who seeks me when I come to pen (yes still in house till DH builds outdoor home for them).
    I talk to this little quaily and it is sooo calm…
    I like to hold it in my hands and pet its face, it closes eyes and dreams of foraging ;)
    I’ve seen turkeys on airplanes as therapy pets, how about a quail?
    Not sure if it’s a he/she yet b/c feather markings are still in the making
    but I love this quail…quaily-o

    Peace all :)

  10. We have lots of non electric games, crayons and books for the kids(Big kids too;). Our favorite game is Fandooble, a simple game that everybody loves to play.

  11. Great article Ken and Sampson is looking pretty fat and happy there too.

    I generally keep at least 1.5 bags of food on hand for my cats and dogs on hand at all times. I try to rotate my stock such that we do not have food on hand for more than 3 weeks. The new premium food these days seems to have a shorter storage life. ( less preservatives maybe, I don’t know.) I also keep at least 1-30 lb sack of bird food on hand for the birds that stop by our home to get some good stuff before moving on.

    A bird guide, quality optics and a series of bird feeders along our fence is more fun than watching TV on sunny days. For children, life is full of teachable moments. Having taught many youngsters how to shoot was only part of the education. Walks in the woods with a rifle or shotgun is important to teach the following lessons to children: I began my education as a naturalist at age 12.

    1. Just because you have a weapon on you does not mean that you can or must kill everything you see. You have the tools. Now you must learn judgement and discretion. Many walks in the woods are taken where there is never a shot fired. Children learn from good or bad examples set by adults around them. You learn more by watching an animal that does not know you are watching them. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to see kills made by birds of prey as well as cougars and bobcats in the wild. (not on TV) One memorable experience was watching the birth of a cougar within a National Park.

    2. Shoot only if you must but when you do pull the trigger, do the job right. I had to practice hitting a target ( size of 50 cent piece) 5 of 5 shots at 25 yards before going afield with a rifle to go after small game. Rapid fire was not allowed and if my uncle heard rapid fire, he would come outside and remove the magazine from the rifle and leave us with 5 rounds.

    3. Graduation consisted of shooting 5 rounds and coming home with 5 squirrels. It took me several years before I was able to do this on regular basis. Most children will give up and go ride motorcycles or play ball after a while. This was the selection process of selecting hunters within the community I grew up in. We all had the ability to sit quietly and watch for hours at a time. Take shots you know you can make and aim for the head so they do not crawl away in their holes.

    Our mentors grew up in hard times of the Great Depression and many, including my uncles, were veterans of war ranging from WW 2 through Korea. They grew up poor with a sense of purpose in what they taught us and how they tested us kids growing up.

    I do not think my mentors realized how much we learned about the natural world by simply being out there in a stand. If you are sill and quiet for long periods of time, you will see a lot and learn even more.

    Fishing? That is a whole nother topic. Until times get bad, try to teach catch and release to the youngsters. I am careful who I teach rigging and baiting to because teaching effective techniques to a person with no sense of ethics, conservation or sharing will create tomorrow’s poacher. If I know some one is going to strip mine a fishery, we will go our separate ways. i may pass on their license plate to Fish and Game wardens.

    These are powerful things we teach our youngsters. Set a good example for them.

  12. I admire the Americans of yesteryear for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during world war two to shorten it as well as save American and western lives. The question is, does the younger generation have the fortitude to stop the evil spread of the current satanic cult? If not, then I believe that all this prepping can only buy time but won’t prevent the enemy from establishing its satanic foothold as it seeks the destruction of all westerners. For Christ’s sake, and I mean this not as a swear word, but to implore followers of Jesus to do what needs to be done to protect us all.

  13. I don’t have children yet but hope to at some point. That said, I have been maintaining 4+ bags of surplus dog food on hand. Amazon Subscribe and Save is a beautiful thing! In a grid-down scenario, my dog’s senses may be better than my own, especially during the night. What about water for the animals?

Comments are closed.