Basic Survival Skills for Children, by M.L.

Children play a part in many of our lives. Protecting them becomes an important issue in daily life as well as in an end of the world as you know it moment. However, what happens when adults can’t be there to protect them? What happens when they may need to protect us?
Our government and even many schools across the country, as well as parents and other adults, often do not see the potential in children. I am not talking about the educated potential one might find in the youth of a suburban school, but the potential to rise to the occasion when it is necessary to help themselves or their families.
The key to survival is knowledge. What you do with that knowledge and how you apply it at the right moment determines if you survive or not. Why can’t our children have the same knowledge?
We have many threats facing our world. Swine Flu or even other pandemics have been brought to the fore front this year. The WHO. is telling the world to expect an explosion of H1N1 cases. What happens if you and your spouse get Swine Flu? Who will take care of your children? Your sick neighbors? Your aging grandparents whom live three states away? Give your children the knowledge to take care of themselves and their families.
The following are some ideas on how to engage your children in survival learning (please gauge these ideas on the maturity levels of your own children):

  • Cooking ~ Sit down and plan out a list of easy foods to cook with the least amount of required steps. Make sure you include some easy recipes for items in your food storage pantry. Most children can begin to learn to cook around age 8, provided you explain the dangers in the kitchen and teach them how to properly use the range, oven, sharp knives, etc. Many libraries and booksellers, as well as the internet, offer cooking books or recipes geared towards children. Cook through the recipes with your child, but try to be as hands off as possible, while teaching them proper techniques.
  • Chores ~ Again, start out slowly, but instill an understanding in your children they can and are able to do most any chores in the home. By age 5, most children can at least do the simplest of chores like folding laundry, dusting, and putting away silverware. Give your children a responsibility and work along side them at first. Add laundry and yard work for older children. Again, teaching the safety protocols for certain items. When it comes to cleaning with chemicals, use alternatives made from natural ingredients. Label bottles and provide instructions. However, even children should not use certain chemicals and you should exercise caution.
  • Pets ~ Children always want pets. Make them responsible for those pets. Teach them how to bathe and groom Fido. Show them how to properly and safely remove ticks. Have your child learn the commands to control your dog as well. Let your child clean out the gerbil cage or feed the fish. All these things teach children how to be more responsible.
  • Protection ~ Enroll your child into a Mixed Martial Arts program or a boxing class with the understanding this is not for beating up little brother but to protect his/her self from others whom might want to harm him/her. For older children, teach gun safety. Show them your weapons, take them to the firing range, and let them understand what it feels like to shoot your P22 or your 12 gauge. Let them practice at shooting targets as well as clays. Take them hunting if you can. And if you have a bow set-up teach them how to shoot arrows as well. By properly teaching gun safety, archery, and self defense your child would be well prepared to defend themselves or to hunt for food.
  • Bartering ~ As odd as it may sound, take your child to garage sales or flea markets. Any age can do this. Make them use their good manners when approaching the seller to barter or haggle over prices. Teach them about good deals and help them to find things that may be useful at a later time.
  • First Aid ~ Children as young as five years old can put a band aid on a wound. Get a first aid manual and teach your children the proper way to care for cuts, scrapes, and other wounds. Let them know what alcohol and peroxide are used for as well as other medical topicals. Show them the difference between when to use a large butterfly bandage or gauze and tape. Teach them the proper way to take someone’s temperature. Explain when professionals should be called in to help or if you are in a situation where there are no professionals available what should be done. If you have a child that gets woozy at the sight of blood help them to get over their fear as best as possible or make sure that particular child has a different responsibility.

While many of the aforementioned tasks may sound obvious for all parents or care-givers, it always helps to remember your children can accomplish many tasks as long as they are given the chance to try. There are a variety of adult survival activities that you can tailor towards your children. Teach your child about your own family op-sec and basic safety when it comes to dealing with strangers. Above all, always remember to stress safety when teaching your children.

Give them a chance to hone their skills by taking them camping. Allow them to start the campfire (with parental guidance), cook the camp dinner, pitch the tent, etc. Get “lost” in the woods and have them bring you back to camp using a compass and map. Then later, have them look for a cache using your GPS. Teach them about the animal tracks your family sees and what animal crossing look like. In the evening, teach them the major constellations and how they can use those for direction as well.

I personally recommend the book The Boy’s Book of Outdoor Survival by Chris McNab. Although it is titled “for boys” and has pictures of boys in the book, I think it is highly appropriate for girls as well. Every child should know how to take care of themselves in survival situations.

If you can help your children and give them the knowledge to help themselves and others, even at a young age, you will enable them to be more responsible for themselves for the rest of their lives. As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your children.