There are a lot of prepper blogs and websites out there for living the off the grid. Few address introducing children to the lifestyle or preparing for a SHTF scenario. Children look at situations much differently than adults, so preparation is important. Living off the grid or even a temporary evacuation will take some skill when kids are involved. A few tips will make it much easier.
Kids want to have fun. They don’t want lectures or long, involved lists of instructions. They don’t want to watch videos on water desalination or organic farming. Keep it simple. Seek out prepper blogs that cater to kids.
Kids get bored easily. Teaching skills are important, but they must be fun. Make a game out of pitching a tent or cooking over a fire. The results will be much better.
Keep it Short
Keep lessons to 15 minutes or less. If the kids get bored, teach another skill. Create a competition or give prizes to maintain interest. If the skill is cooking, have the kids make a meal. Success breeds confidence.
No one is born with knowledge. Everything must be learned. Some skills may be too complicated or must be learned in stages. Be realistic.
We need food to live. Teaching kids to cook prepper meals can be a fun experience. Gathering food and learning to prepare it is a life skill for everyone, not just preppers. Create a story about surviving in the wild to add some fun.
- Identify edible plants and vegetables in your yard, e.g., dandelions, mushrooms, root vegetables
- Plant a garden
- Visit farmers’ markets
- Prepare, freeze, dehydrate and can food
- Cook food using various sources – stove, grill, open flame. Teach safety and always supervise.
- Boil/filter water
- Compost waste
- Install a rain barrel
Preparing for Emergencies
SHTF blogs are great for preparing for emergencies. As natural disasters increase, emergency preparedness is more crucial than ever. Living without daily conveniences is also a skill. Test your kids on how to live a prepper life off the grid.
- Make a first aid kit
- Teach basic first aid
- Take a CPR/first aid class
- Run emergency drills for fire, tornado, earthquake, etc.
- Take a self-defense class
- Check batteries in flashlights and smoke detectors
- Live without electricity for one day (including internet)
- Live without running water for one day
- Collect and store important documents: medication lists, emergency phone numbers, passports, birth certificates, family photos, legal papers, etc.
- Make a Bug Out Bag for each family member
- Give each family member a stash of cash
- Stock up on gas/diesel/propane
- Organize utensils and tools
Learn or Sharpen Skills
- Spend time outdoors. Live off the land – go camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, build a fire, etc.
- Go birdwatching
- Identify edible plants
- Build a shelter
- Make laundry soap
- Learn to sew
- Learn to read a map or navigate using only your surroundings
- Create a scavenger hunt
- Learn to shoot, including safety training
- Use tools
- Sharpen and clean tools
- Identify trees
- Learn to tie knots
- Create evacuation routes
Practice, Practice, Practice
Learning and honing skills is important, but it doesn’t end there. Practicing skills on a regular basis is vital to ensure correct procedure and safety. Plan exercises once a month, focusing on a different set of skills each time. Even if the skills aren’t needed in a SHTF scenario, each will be a welcome gift and family memory throughout your child’s life.
Perhaps the most important thing to practice is the evacuation plan. Discuss what to do if one of the routes is blocked. Teach them what to do if you become separated. When creating a plan, ensure that there is a minimum of two routes for escape. Avoid main highways to prevent delays, accidents, and being cut off without a viable exit. Share the plan with family and friends.