Prepping With Kids
Surviving a crisis is a little more complex when kids are involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a short-term situation like a bad storm or a long-term breakdown like the collapse of the U.S. dollar. When you have kids, you need to take extra care to prepare.
Families with children need to especially consider these two things in terms of prepping.
First, what additional needs do your children have?
If you have very young children, you might need to include diapers and formula as part of your prepping kits, for example.
Second, a lot of families make the mistake keeping their preparations a secret from the kids. There a lot of reason people make this decision. They worry about burdening their children. Or they don’t think their kids will be discreet.
But you absolutely need to talk to your kids about what would happen in and after a disaster. Otherwise, mentally, they will be completely unprepared. And that can put everyone in your family at greater risk…
5 Ways You Can Get Your Kids
“Ready for Anything”
Start with a Conversation
The best way to begin preparing your kids for a crisis is to talk to them about it.
One way to do this is to talk about situations that have happened in recent memory. You could talk about a hurricane, tornado or earthquake that made the news.
You can also discuss current events in the U.S. that raise concerns for you—the possibility of economic collapse, the instability of key infrastructure, or the likelihood of another terrorist attack.
The main thing is to underscore that big changes can happen very quickly, they can happen anywhere, and it’s important to be prepared. You can leave out the gory details that might leave your kids feeling frightened.
Obviously, toddlers aren’t ready to begin learning about preparedness, but once your child becomes verbal, you can start to involve them in your prepping.
Begin by teaching them very basic information. Have them memorize their full name and phone number. Teach them their address, too.
In all but the direst situations, your home will likely remain your base of operations. Teaching your children where that is, how to get there, and how to tell others to get there can help keep them oriented in a crisis.
On the flip side of that, you also want to teach them about who they can trust and who they can’t. You don’t want them telling just anyone they meet where they live.
Get Them Involved
As your kids get older, whenever you’re doing preparedness training, building up your supplies, or running through contingency plans, involve them. Give them a role to play. Assign them tasks. Let them learn along with you. When a real crisis does come up, this will help by giving them a sense of responsibility and control.
Nothing breaks down mental fortitude faster than feeling helpless and useless.
Remember: That’s as true for your kids as it is for you.
Make a Game of Things
Teaching your kids about survival and preparedness can actually be fun. Sure, it’s a serious topic, but your kids will be more interested and retain more of what you’re trying to teach them if you make a game out of it.
For example, one parent put a bunch of survival items in the middle of a table. He told each of his children that there had been an emergency that required them to leave the house and that they might not be able to go to a store any time soon. He asked them, one at a time, to pick five items from the gear that they would take with them.
After each person’s turn, they talked about why they had picked those items and what they might have missed. Making things interactive like this is a great way to not only involve your kids, but to really engage them.
Give Them Their Own Bug Out Bag
Part of prepping is being ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Help each of your kids to put together an evacuation kit of their own. That way, they get to help carry some of the family’s gear, they can add a few of their own custom items (like a favorite toy), and again, you help them feel more in control if something actually does go wrong.
Grow Their Skills Over Time
There are a ton of survival skills that are also useful life skills. Being able to build a fire … knowing how to dress a wound … knowing how to find water and filter it … learning about local, edible plants … knowing how to fish … these are all skills that are worth learning even if you never find yourself in a survival situation. And they are all things that most kids will find interesting.
Having kids to think about adds another layer to the process of becoming ready for anything. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
With the right mindset, you can make being prepared fun for the whole family.
P.S. Keep things as normal as possible for your kids during a crisis by keeping their on-the-go gadgets powered up and working. The Sun Trek power system travels with you wherever you go, so whether you’re sheltering in place, evacuating, or even just roughing it for fun, you can charge up cell phones, mp3 players, even tablets. A little bit of power can make all the difference.