If you have a family, especially if you have small children, you probably want to be prepared for their sake. It is a parent’s instinct to make sure they are always clothed, fed, and housed, and that will become even more pertinent when disaster strikes.
There is so much more to survival than simply stocking up on goods and supplies, and that includes preparing your children, rather than simply preparing for them.
Here are some easy ways to start cultivating a spirit of self-reliance in your children from a young age.
Give them a preview of what life is like without modern luxuries. If your kids can learn at a young age what it’s like to live without running water, electricities, and easily accessible supermarkets, if only for the occasional weekend, they’ll gain great experience and perspective. Go backpacking, fish for your dinner, teach them to forage, and the basic skills of wilderness survival. Learning how to pitch a tent, build a fire, and go to the bathroom in the woods are vital skills every adult should know, and if your kids learn them young, they’ll have an advantage for life.
Whatever organization is in your area, get your kids involved in wilderness skill activities. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are great for learning all kinds of outdoor and teamwork skills. You can teach your children plenty at home, but learning to work with peers is a vital skill as well.
Teach Your Children How Things Work
I’m embarrassed to admit, I was actually an adult before it ever occurred to me where the gas for the stove in my childhood home came from. Once I dabbled in off-grid life, I realized just how much energy and how many resources modern life requires. Get your kids involved in fix-ups around the house and car repair, show them how the plumbing, electricity, and gas works (safely!), and have them participate in preparedness efforts. They need to understand what it takes to sustain the life they have now, so they’ll be prepared for what it might be like when the grid goes down.
Teach Them to Cook
Another aspect of self-reliance is teaching children to cook for themselves. If they understand where their food comes from, what ingredients go into their favorite meals, and the basic skills required to turn ingredients into dishes, they’ll be set for life. Cooking skills are incredibly valuable, not just for day-to-day life, but in survival as well.
Take Them Hunting and Fishing
As soon as your children are old enough, get them involved in hunting and fishing. Kids love this kind of thing, and these are also incredibly vital survival skills. They will forge a strong relationship with nature and understand what it takes to get food on their table.
Yet another aspect of familiarizing your children with their food source is to teach them to raise animals. Don’t shy away from the honest truth about where meat comes from; children are surprisingly fine at facing these facts young, trust me. If they understand how the circle of life really works, they’ll be much more self-reliant when they’re older, and can help you to field dress or butcher animals when the time comes that you might need to rely on their help.
If they understand how the circle of life really works, they’ll be much more self-reliant when they’re older, and can help you to field dress or butcher animals when the time comes that you might need to rely on their help. If you get your kids involved in raising animals, this is a great area for them to develop a sense of responsibility and routine. Kids love feeding animals, and they can easily take on quite a bit of the care animals need as they get older, freeing you up for other tasks.
Teach Them to Garden
Finally, gardening is a great thing to do with kids, and more and more schools are realizing this. Gardening is fun, incredibly healthy, and a very valuable skill. And if you plan on homesteading or have a long-term bug in survival vision, gardening is a great skill for your children to have, and, like tending to animals, something you can easily delegate largely to children. Even small children can help water plants, weed, and harvest.
Added plus: getting kids involved in growing plants is a great way to encourage more vegetable consumption!
Give Them Jobs
We’ve already discussed several chores kids can get involved in around the home or homestead, but when it comes to short-term survival, you can get them involved too. We wrote a few days ago about survival drills you can do at home, and we’ll be sharing survival drills for a number of other scenarios in the near future. When you are planning out a survival drill for your family, give your kids a job, they’ll love to feel important. They can be assigned with taking inventory of food or water, finding all the flashlights and spare batteries, watching smaller children, etc.
We wrote a few days ago about survival drills you can do at home, and we’ll be sharing survival drills for a number of other scenarios in the near future. When you are planning out a survival drill for your family, give your kids a job, they’ll love to feel important. They can be assigned with taking inventory of food or water, finding all the flashlights and spare batteries, watching smaller children, etc. Kids are already great at playing pretend so they’ll have a blast running drills with you, and when the real deal hits, giving them a task will be a good way to distract them from any fear.
We are the biggest influence in our children’s life, and we don’t need to cut them short and assume we need to do everything for them. They can be a great benefit to our survival efforts, as well as be positively influenced by being involved with them. After all, the best kind of survival is investing in future generations.
If you liked this, you might also enjoy…