In the hustle and bustle of the today’s busy life, it is hard to keep up with your preps. It is so easy to get distracted with everyday life and forget all about your food storage, financial security, bug-out strategies, and many other topics important to preppers.
This is especially true if you have children and have the extra time eaters of school, homework, and kids activities. So when you finally have a spare moment to work on your preps, it is often when the kids are not around.
Preparedness is one of the most important values we can teach our children. It can help them become confident, responsible adults and help ensure they survive the disasters little and big throughout their lives.
Here are some ways that you can introduce you children to prepping that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Read Survivor Books
One of the best ways to excite your children about survivalism and preparedness is to spark their imagination. A good book can capture the imagine of a child and keep them focus on a topic for weeks, months, and even years. It stays with them well beyond when they are finished with reading it, carrying over into their thoughts, artwork, and play. It can lead to them asking you many questions, which is the perfect opportunity for you to teach them your preparedness values while they are receptive.
A quick check search on various survival related blogs and websites will results in many ideas for books for your kids. Also, be sure to talk with your local librarian as they know a wide range of lesser known books. Another great start are some of my favorites such as Swiss Family Robinson, My Side of the Mountain, Little House on the Prairie, and The City of Ember.
Make a First-Aid Kit
A great exercise that you can do with your child is building a first aid kit. Every parent knows the importance of having a good supply of bandages on hand for all of the natural scrapes and cuts that kids get on a daily basis. Bringing the child into the decision-making process for stocking the first-aid kit will give them ownership and teach them valuable lessons.
Start by reviewing the first-aid supplies you have on hand with your child. Then with your help, you can have them make a list of all of the additional things you would need to make it complete. Once this is complete, take them to the store with you on a special trip just to buy the first-aid supplies. Finally, you assemble the kit with your child and place it in an easily accessible place.
Now the next time they are injured, you can easily grab the first-aid kit they made. They will see firsthand the planning they did in action. You can even emphasize it further by telling them how easy it is with everything they could possibly need right there.
Remember to repeat this process every six months to keep the first-aid kit well stocked and to reinforce the message of preparedness to you children.
When developing your first-aid kit, I recommend that it contains at least many bandages of different sizes, several instant ice-packs, antibiotic ointment, scissors, tweezers, oral thermometer, antiseptic wipes, and a couple lollipops. I also recommend that you have one for the house and a separate one for each vehicle.
Food storage is at the heart of most preppers inventory. However, this is a topic that is difficult to pique the interest of most children. Cooking, on the other hand, can be exciting and delicious. And a way to start your kids down the path to thinking about food.
A fun exercise is to pick your kids favorite recipe, that is not a boxed meal, and cook it together with them. Start be reviewing the recipe with them and write down a list of all of the needed ingredients. Even if you already have the ingredients on hand, go to the store to buy just the items on the list. This will help build the excitement and keep them focused on the goal of cooking the meal.
Once back home, begin cooking the meal together. Make sure to have your child participate in every step of the process. For older children, you can have them cook the entire meal with you standing next to them to offer guidance only. When it is finished, you can sit down as a family to enjoy the meal together.
Learning to cook is an important skill that everyone should possess. It is also a solid confidence and self-esteem builder based on achieving something instead of just being.
Remember to start small and build. This is a great thing to turn into a weekly event such as Tuesday is Kids Cook Night!
Going camping is an excellent fun, family activity. If you are a prepper, chances are they you already go on at least one camping trip per year. Getting your children involved in the planning is a great way to get their brains focused on preparedness.
Like all preparedness activities, the best way to start is with a list. Sit down with your children and discuss the upcoming camping trip and develop a list of everything that you would need. Write down any food, cooking supplies, clothing, tent, sleep gear, first-aid kit, and toys and other stuff for activities that they think are needed.
As they begin, they are bound to forget something that would be wanted. For younger children you can remind them and keep the list with all of the essentials. For older children, you can let them forget and give them the important lesson of a weekend without something. A weekend without a pillow is a great way to never forget again.
Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
There is no organization more aligned with the values of preppers than one whose motto is “Be Prepared!”. I was a Boy Scout when I was a little boy and all of my four daughters were in Girl Scouts when were younger. Both organizations are great avenues for kids to learn and explore wilderness and preparedness topics.
One of the very best aspects about the Scouts is that it is a great way for your kids to make friends in your community. Most troops are assembled with kids in the same school district and meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The meetings typically last around one to two hours depending on the meeting frequency. Spending time doing activities with the same kids week after week all year-long often results in friendships that continue outside of scouts. Which in turn leads to most interest in scouts to spend time with those friends.
All of the activities in scouts are oriented around positive and important lessons for children ranging from science to community stewardship to wilderness survival. It is also very common for troops to have an annual camp out. The specific activities for each troop greatly depend on the leader, which is a good reason to volunteer as much as possible to help choose the ones you like best.
Children also view their scout leader as an outside authority figure similar to a teacher. They often times, frustratingly, listen to them on how to do things better than you as the parent. This is especially true for teenage children. But by having them involved in Scouts, you are using this natural tendency to your advantage by having the lessons and activities be the same preparedness values you want to instill in them yourself.
About the Author: Benjamin Ellefson is a prepper and the author of the preparedness themed children’s book series The Land without Color. Learn more at http://www.benjaminellefson.com