Lately, I haven’t been able to turn on the news or scroll through my Facebook without hearing about something major going on in our country and around the world. It seems that every day we are faced with new riots, new protests, economic issues and tensions are quite high between the United States and Russia.
I really don’t think it is a matter of, if things are going to go south, but when things are going to go south. Things are just not going to be able to keep going the way they are and end up with a very good outcome. I’m not promoting fear here, I’m just stating it the way I see it.
I have 7 kiddos, 4 of them are 10 and under, although they know that we are prepared for a major emergency or disaster, their understanding of what’s going on in the world isn’t like that of mine or my husband’s. We don’t watch the news with our younger children and they don’t have access to social media. Although we’ve done a pretty good job at helping them learn the skills needed to survive, these 4 children are quite young and without me or my husband, I’m not sure how well they’d fare. All of this has me thinking, “How can I prepare my children for when SHTF?” I think this is a pretty important question we should all be asking ourselves.
How Can I Prepare My Children For Emergencies?
Talk to your children – There really is a fine line between telling your children what they need to know and telling them more than they needed to hear. There are few things in this world that young children need to know every detail about. If we can use the time before an emergency happens to talk with our children, we can explain things to them in a way that won’t make them fearful and without all the gory details. Much of what you talk to your children about will depend on where you live, what kinds of natural disasters your area is prone to and what exactly you are preparing for.
I think it’s also important to explain to our children that there are bad people in this world. Making a comparison to TV shows or movies they’ve seen is okay and will probably help them understand better. But when I did this, I was sure to point out to them that not all bad people look like bad people. Many, look like you and I and sometimes it’s hard to tell the good from the bad, that’s why we make sure we are well protected if the that time should ever come. I say this because we are now living in a time where terrorists are running free in our country, shootings happen in schools, colleges and other public places more than we’d like them to. It’s more than just about stranger danger now.
Teach your children skills – I covered 52 Skills Your Children Should Be Learning and it’s a pretty good list of where to start with your kiddos. Naturally, younger children aren’t going to be able to do a lot of what’s on that list, at least not independently, but they can watch you and they can help. We all start from the bottom and work our way up, children are no different. If you start teaching them those skills now, you are increasing their chances.
Include your children – The worst thing we can do as we start on this preparedness journey is to leave our children in the dust. They need to be included in our plans. Are you hunkering down? Are you leaving? Where are you going? If there is a fire, what are they supposed to do? If they are at school, what is the plan? There is so much that goes into that, so laying a plan out and including them is very important! Also, let them help with the shopping, the storing of food and supplies, cooking, and the preserving of food items.
Reassure your children – Once we start talking about major disasters and what we are going to do to keep our family’s safe, children can sometimes get fearful and ask a lot of questions. Reassuring them that you will do whatever you can to protect them and keep them safe is very important. Comforting them and pointing out that the reason you are preparing the way you are, is because you are doing your best now to keep the safe. Letting them know that as long as you are able to, you will protect them can offer them a sense of comfort and security. If your children ask questions, answer them the best you can. Some children may close down and not ask any questions even if they have them, you may have to try to pull a little bit of that out of them so you can help them feel a sense of security.
Hold family drills – Camping is a great way to practice off-grid living. You can refine your skills, learn new skills, figure out where you need to improve and practice what it would be like if the grid would go down or you’d have to live in the woods for any length of time. All under no pressure. It also gives you an excellent opportunity to teach your children skills and help them develop the skills they already have. Hiking is another opportunity to hone in on survival skills. Fire drills and drilling for any natural disasters that have happened in your area are important. We also hold home invasion drills. When children know what is expected of them during any type of emergency, they seem to react much better and feel like they are better prepared to handle the situation.
Obedience – I’m going to be quite frank here, if you have a child who doesn’t listen to you now, they aren’t going to listen to you when an emergency arises. I have a very headstrong child myself who thinks they need to argue every point with me. However, this same child knows that when I tell them it’s time to go, they know it’s time to go. They know when I’m dead serious about something and they know when it’s urgent for them to well, step in line.
All of the things I mentioned above are extremely important and can be incorporated into your every day lifestyle. You don’t have to make it all serious either. There are board games that you can play and books that they can read to help make it more enjoyable for both you and them! My parents prepared me in very different ways. They offered me the skills and the learning platform, but they never talked to me about why it was important for me to know these things. I had to learn that all on my own and unfortunately, we are now living in a time where learning preparedness skills have become an essential part of our lifestyle.