How to start teaching survival skills to kids
We never know, do we? We just never know what might happen. I mean, we couldn’t have imagined the impact Covid-19 has had on our day to life or the lives of our children. It’s never too early to start teaching survival skills to kids.
You’ve probably heard reports in the news of some kid who saved the day by calling 911, or getting help. We’ve even heard of dogs doing this. So why would we not begin teaching our kids how to survive – well, anything!?
In fact, it’s really what parents are for. We serve our children by teaching them everything they need to know to go out and face life as it comes. In times past we had whole villages to help raise our kids. Then the industrial revolution started a whirlwind where we as families became atomised more and more. But when push comes to shove we band together again. Community will be the way to make it when it comes right down to it. Your kids can help. And they should help. Why? Because they need these skills just like you do.
Imagine with me for a second that you’ve made all right plans, learned the right skills, gotten the right gear to survive come what may. And when the storm comes you get hit in the head and are incapacitated! You CANNOT be the only one who knows what to do. Teach your kids. Teach your spouse. Practice. Do drills. Go camping, hiking and the like.
You never know when someone you love and care about will need to know what to do. I think I’ve made my point. Teach your kids survival skills. But, where do you start?
Basic Survival Skills Your Kids Should Know First
Let’s start with the easy stuff. That way you get a notch in your belt and your kid does learn something they do really need to know.
I have a neice who was abducted by her father when she was 3. It was an awful experience I do not wish anyone to go through. But once we got her back (yes, we did get her back! Thank God!) we became uber focused in our family on making sure all our kids knew their full name, their parents full names, their address and their phone number. We made sure they knew how to call 911 and how to use a phone. (It was a bit easier then because there were actual phones around to use!) But knowing phone numbers is essential nonetheless.
How Merit Badges Can Help Teach Your Kids Survival Skills
Great! That’s a good place to start. Another really great place to start is with merit badges. Almost any used bookstore has an old boyscout or girlscout manual around. Any of them that let kids work toward badges have steps to take to learn a skill. You can read through those and find ones your kids can handle, or find steps they can learn now, at their age, that gets them closer to some badge. Not that the badge matters, but it’s a great way for you to keep up with where they are in their learning, a checksheet of sorts.
Another great place to start is to do a little research on what the Native American’s taught their kids as survival skills.You will be surprised how much your younger children pick up by listening to and watching your older children tackle things on these lists.
In most survival scenarios immediate rescue and first aid, shelter, water and food are the initial priorities. Food is the last thing on the list, believe it or not, in a real survial scene. Why? because man can live for weeks without food but can perish quickly without water or shelter.
But that doesn’t mean you have to teach the skills in that order. When your kids have a few skills under their belt you might want to start focusing on which to do first and second and so on, though, so they know best how to tackle the problems they face methodically.
Don’t forget to hit on survival skills for every climate and locale. You may live in Texas and doubt highly that your kids will ever be lost in the snowy mountains, but they might be. Their plane might go down or I don’t know something else could happen. Obviously you don’t want to spend all your time on things that are less possible, but don’t neglect them either.
First Aid Is A Survival Skill That All Kids Should Have
Knowing the basics of giving first aid or using your first-aid kit is an extremely important survival skill. Your merit badges will help with this. Also, many communities have several offerings for free or nearly free that teach things like CPR and swimming saftey. Get your kids in there. How to use a tourniquet or stop bleeding, how to tell if someone is choking, how to do the Heimlich Maneuver, especially on babies, might come in handy babysitting or elsewhere.
You can learn more about these important skills yourself by watching a few Youtube videos if those aren’t available.
Survival Skills For Kids Involving Fire
This is a harder topic because fire is so dangerous. But how to start a fire is not the only lesson a child can learn. They can learn how to put out a fire, what puts out fire like water vs sand or dirt. They can learn not to put water on a grease fire. They can learn that if a car is in an accident it can catch on fire, so don’t hang out waiting for help. They can learn to stop-drop-and roll if they catch on fire or how to help someone else who has caught on fire, like throwing a blanket on them.
They also need to know not to fan a flame or how to fan a flame that’s going out. There are plenty of fire skills they can learn without being taught how to start them!
Any outdoor & wilderness survival skills that include lessons for kids will make sure they understand the importance of staying calm. How do they react now when they see a bug for example? Work on that. Get them to stop and think about what they can do, what needs to be done and how THEY can do it. That’s huge for your kids to learn as a life skill, period. Empower them to face life’s hurdles. Yes, even bugs!
As parents, we want to protect our children from harm. It’s in our dna. So we diligently prepare for possible emergencies, and we educate ourselves on how to survive them. Teaching your children to rely on you is a good thing, but we can’t possibly be with them at all times. Would your kids know what to do if they were on their own in a survival situation? If not, it’s time to teach your children some basic survival skills.
Teach your kids these simple survival skills to keep them safe. And parents, learn what you can do now to teach them how to survive if they ever need it.