Kids are often the driving point for an adult’s need to prepare to survive. Your job as a parent is to protect your child and that doesn’t just stop when a disaster is at hand. Doing it all yourself isn’t really an option. You can’t be everywhere at once.
Your children need to have some basic knowledge about what they should do in an emergency. As a parent, this is something you can talk with them about and teach them in a way that doesn’t scare them.
Thinking about a major disaster or the end of the world as we know it is intense. It can be overwhelming for the typical adult and it can be terrifying for a child. You will need to approach the subject with finesse.
You know your child best and know the best way to approach it. Some daredevils will welcome the idea of fighting to survive, while others will scream and run in fear. Your best option is to give them the knowledge. If they know what to do, they are less likely to panic.
If they have been taught and trained what to do when they hear emergency sirens, they are going to do what they know— in most cases.
Teaching kids to survive is important. If disaster strikes while they are at school, you are at work or they are off playing with their friends, you need them to take care of themselves until you can get to them. You will feel better knowing they know what to do and can focus more on getting to them instead of freaking out in a panic, worrying about what your kid doesn’t know.
Tips to know when teaching kids to survive
Establish Routes Home
You need to come up with routes you want the kids to take home from school, the park or their best friend’s house. Walk the routes with your child, often. You want them to know it like the back of their hand. Point out landmarks that will help them stay on course.
Have backup routes just in case one of the main paths has been blocked. If you live too far out of town for your child to reach home, have a designated meeting area. It could be a public building, like the library or maybe a certain spot in the park.
Teach the Vital Information
Your child should be taught vital information that will lead them to you. If an adult tries to help them, they are going to need to know how to find you. If your child is too young to remember their address, your phone number, your work number and so on, write the information on a card and laminate it. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to do this with all the kids just in case the stress of an emergency causes them to forget. Put the card in the child’s backpack or sew it into their coat. They can present the card to the person trying to help them. Information that the child should know is as follows:
- Their full name
- Your name and the name of your spouse
- Closest relative’s name
- Where you or your spouse works
- Your phone number
- Any illnesses they have
- Their address
- Phone number of a reliable contact outside of town
Establish a Communication Method
If your child does not carry a cell phone, make sure they know how to contact you and let you know where they are. Having a child carry a 2-way radio in their backpack is also an option. Teach the child to leave a sign letting you know they have been at a certain point.
If you know they are heading home along a designated route, have a signal established that they put out letting you know they were there. This gives you peace of mind they are on the right track and you will join up with them soon.
If you have a designated meeting area at a park or other place, have them leave you a sign if they have to leave. Your plan may predetermine they wait 30 minutes and then head home or to a different location if you don’t show up. Another option is for them to check in with a relative out of the area. This is better than a local number just in case phone service is out in your city.
GPS and How to Use Their Phone for Navigation
If the child does have a smart phone, show them how to use the Google maps or other map function. GPS may be a little tough for the younger kids, but if you can show them how to follow a route, they will be able to make it home without getting lost.
A disaster or the threat of a disaster can cause people to do things they normally wouldn’t. While it would be nice to believe some kind stranger would take care of a kid lost and alone, it isn’t always going to be the case. Your child will need to know some basic safety rules in order to protect themselves and get home safely.
- The child should be taught to avoid crowds as much as possible, you don’t want them getting caught up in a mob or riot that threatens their safety
- Kids need to know to avoid going with anyone and to stick to the plan
- Establish code words, if you send someone to escort your child home, they must know the code word or the child doesn’t go with them
- Teach the child to scream, kick and yell should someone try to take them
- Basic self-defense moves would be very helpful
- Ensure the child does not try to cross water should you be dealing with a flood
Again, you know your child and what they are capable of understanding. As they get older, you can expand their knowledge about survival. Walking the routes with the child and getting out into nature on camping trips will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed when it is time for them to do it on their own.