How to Get Your Family Ready for the Winter Months
You’ve probably taken steps to get your home and your vehicle ready for winter, but what about your family? As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it is extremely important to make sure your family is prepared. Whether or not you are in an area that is prone to heavy snowfalls and weather-related emergencies like power outages, this time of year poses challenges for just about everyone. By taking some time to prepare everyone in your household, you can make it through the winter and come out on the other side unscathed in the spring. Here is some advice on how to get your family ready for the winter months.
Check Your Heating System
If you have already inspected your heating system as part of your process for winterizing your home, great job! Feel free to move on to the next tip. If you haven’t, though, keep reading to discover why this simple task is one of the most important things you can do to prepare your family for cold weather.
Just like your car, your heating system needs a bit of TLC from time to time. If it has been a while since the last time you’ve had it inspected, you need to have it checked out. While you only use it for a few months out of the year, it is subjected to a lot of wear and tear during that time. Parts can get dirty or wear out, and if they stop functioning as they should, the entire system could fail.
Have your furnace inspected annually, preferably before you fire it up for the first time. And don’t forget to replace your furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Taking care of your heating system is one of the absolute best things you can do to ensure that your family is safe and comfortable during the winter months.
Gather Plenty of Winter Wear
Chances are, you have winter wear for everyone in your family…somewhere. That nice winter jacket and all those cute gloves and hats won’t do much good, though, if the temperature plummets while they are still buried in the attic. You also need to make sure that everything you have is still the correct size for the members of your family.
Start by sorting through all of the winter clothes you currently have. Check for damage and find pieces that will fit your family members. Launder everything so it’s ready to go when needed.
When determining exactly what articles of clothing your family needs, keep your climate in mind. If the temperature in your area rarely dips below 40 degrees, you probably do not need to worry about something like a heavy parka. But if you live in an area where sub-freezing temperatures and heavy snows are common, you need to make sure you have the right clothing to outfit your family.
T-shirts and hoodies are great to have on hand during the winter months. They can be worn in multiple layers to keep your family members warm all day long. Buying plain hoodies in bulk and investing in wholesale t-shirts are great ways to supplement your family’s winter wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Stock Up on Emergency Essentials
Avoid the last-minute rush when a snow or ice storm is bearing down on your city by stocking up on emergency essentials before the weather gets nasty. Make sure you have things like flashlights, batteries, blankets, a first aid kit and enough medication on hand to last at least a few days. Gather these items and store them in an area that will be easy to access in the event of a power outage.
Stock up on food and water, too. The Department of Homeland Security recommends storing enough water to provide each person with one gallon per day for three days. It is also wise to make sure you have things like peanut butter, bread, canned tuna, shelf-stable milk and crackers in your pantry. These foods can be eaten with little to no preparation, making them ideal to have on hand during power outages. Keep at least three days’ worth of other foods on hand as well. Even if you don’t lose power, you could find yourself stuck at home for a few days due to snowy or icy conditions.
And don’t forget about your pets! Keep at least three days’ worth of their food and medications on hand as well, and make sure to include them in your water rations.
Build Up Everyone’s Immune System
Snow and ice aren’t the only things to worry about during the winter months. This time of year is also cold and flu season. While it simply isn’t possible to prevent every illness, there are steps you can take to help keep everyone healthy. Make sure everyone gets plenty of exercise and eats well. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies that are high in vitamin C is a must. If you have picky eaters in your home, supplementing with vitamins is an option, too.
Remind kids of the importance of washing their hands regularly and keeping their hands away from their faces. Keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times and send one with each member of your family. Encourage everyone to use it regularly and to wash their hands whenever possible, especially after being around someone who is sick.
Stock up on tissues, canned soup, cough drops and cold medicine. Despite your best efforts, there is still a good chance that someone will have, at the very least, a case of the sniffles before winter ends. Stocking up ahead of time means you won’t have to make late-night trips to the store when someone isn’t feeling well.
The winter months can take a toll on everyone in your family. By taking steps to prepare for things like snow storms, power outages and even colds, you can make the season a lot easier to handle.