This week on the podcast we have a special guest Morgan from RoguePreparedness on with us to talk about preparedness with children and some challenges she recently encountered.
Morgan recently went on a multi-state 30 day trip with her husband and 2 children and shared some of her takeaways with us. Experiences like this are a great way to find the flaws in your bug out plans, and gives you an idea about how difficult bugging out with children could actually be.
Morgan is very active on social media and has some great videos on YouTube. If you have small children and have any questions, she is definitely the person to ask.
Below are some of the topics we covered in this weeks show, but make sure and listen because we went through so much more.
Tips for Preparing With Children
Sometimes in any given household only one of the parents is concerned about preparedness, and most of the time the children in that household could care less, after all their idea of doomsday is losing a girlfriend or their cell phone breaking.
If we do this correctly we can at the very least increase awareness about preparedness without turning them off to the idea all together. This article is about teaching your children about preparedness, but some of the principals can be applied to your other family members as well.
We need to remember that each person, child or adult, has a different personality and will take a different approach when we discuss prepping. Some people learn better by reading from a book, and some people need to be hands. Some people are more analytical, and some people are more emotional. It’s up to us to figure out what the best teaching method is for each child.
The age of your children needs to also be taken into account. As Lisa and I talked about in the show, we got serious about prepping when our children were already teenagers, and while it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, it is far more challenging than teaching them right in the first place.
I came up with 9 ideas that might help build your child’s (or children) awareness about preparedness, these might need to be changed here and there depending on your child’s needs, but the principals remain the same.
1. Teach Them to Respect the Essentials
Children these days have no idea about what life is like without technology, and they have no idea where food and water actually come from. If the internet goes out for just an hour they have no idea what to do, and when all the spaghettiO’s are gone they act like there is nothing in the house to eat.
Teach them about food and water, teach them about electricity. Teaching them not to take for granted that the lights just magically come on when you flip a switch, and the water might not always flow from the faucet will give them an appreciation for what they have.
2. Teach the Basics of Prepping
You hear the stories all the time, and it might even be you. “I’ve been a prepper my whole life, and didn’t know It.” Teaching your children about canning, gardening, food storage and self-reliance will teach them that it’s just what smart people do.
Camping and survivalist skills are also a great way to get the ball rolling. Teaching them the basics of fire, water safety, building shelter can introduce your children to the importance of preparing.
3. Get Them Involved in Prepping
Children are always trying to emulate their parents, this can be good or bad. If we teach our children good habits and give them a few small things that they are responsible for they will have a bigger sense of involvement.
Let them join in when you are cooking, gardening or building something. They might not actually be “helping” you, but the fact that they are involved gives them an idea about how the process works.
4. Watch What You (and They) Say
Be careful about labeling what you are doing as “prepping” to children, they love to brag and because they talk to others who might not understand what prepping is, it might lead to unwanted attention. We know what prepping is all about, but because of shows like Doomsday Preppers some people have misconceptions.
Also take the opportunity to teach them about operational security when you can. This is the same concept as “never take candy from a stranger”, we spend so much time thinking about security we need to make sure our children don’t give away the farm.
5. Let Small Children Build Their Own Emergency Bag (With Your Help)
Even if they build a bug out bag full of toys let them put what they want in the bag. Ask them why they decided they needed that and use this as an opportunity to teach them about emergency preparedness.
As time goes on you will see that some of the toys will be replaced with more useful supplies. As they become more responsible you can give them supplies to add and explain how important they are.
6. Teach Them the 6 Areas of Preparedness
The 6 areas of preparedness are food, water, shelter, security and sanitation, and first aid. Just about everything we do is an opportunity to teach children about the 6 areas of preparedness.
When we are cooking or gardening we can teach them where food actually comes from, when we are working around the house we can teach them about shelter and security. You might even be able to get them a little more excited about cleaning…good luck with that through.
7. Plan and Practice
Just like fire drills at school we need to practice and teach our children the plans we have in place. This might seem a little repetitive to them, but when the time comes, the more they practice, the smoother the plan will go.
Make sure children of all ages know what to do if and when an emergency when the family is separated. Small children might have the assistance of adults, but teenage children might not be where you think they are and will need to know how to reunite with the family.
8. Games and Movies
Games and movies are a great way to open up the dialog and ask the “what if” questions about emergency preparedness. Games are good for small children, and movies might be better for older children.
Make sure whatever you do it’s at their learning level, you want to extend their interest in preparedness, not scare them away from it. This article from Urban Survival Site has a great article about getting your kids involved with prepping.
9. Don’t Scare Them Away From Preparedness
When we are teaching our children about preparedness we are going to be walking a thin line between scaring them and preparing them. We need to remember that children look to us for safety and we can’t put too much on their plate.
This article from Survivopedia about mistakes to avoid explains in more detail about what we should and shouldn’t do when teaching our kids about preparedness.
Have Ideas or Questions?
Let me know if you have any ideas in the comments below? Preparing with children can be a challenge, and is different for every family.
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