The world is an unsure and unstable place. This is especially stressful when you have children. However, your children needn’t be a liability you need to “take care of” in the event of an emergency. Indeed, prepared families ensure that everyone in the family is prepared to do their part in the event of an emergency.
While it’s certainly true that children, especially small and young children, require extra care and guidance during an emergency, it’s also true that every member of your family can do their part. With every member of the family pulling their weight as is appropriate, you are going to dramatically increase your chances of everyone making it to safety alive, healthy, and intact.
Still, many parents struggle with how to best get their children ready for a disaster. Indeed, figuring out how to get children prepared can be stressful. You want to impart important survival skills without making your children neurotic, fearful, and paranoid.
One of the best ways to do that is through family fun activities that emphasize building skills without making your children constantly afraid that the end of the world is coming. Here are some helpful suggestions for families with children of any age.
Emergency Preparedness Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun for kids of all ages. You’ll have to tailor yours to make it appropriate for the age of your child, but this is a great way to train your kids in a variety of useful skills for survival scenarios.
It provides not only a way to help your kids learn skills of observation and deduction – both crucial skills for anyone looking to survive a disaster scenario – but it also allows you to teach your kids about various emergency supplies without making it like a college lecture.
Create a checklist of essential items for any emergency kit. Then have your kids search the house to locate all of them. This helps them to learn where things are in the house they might need to grab in a hurry. It’s also a great time to teach children about why they’re grabbing this, that, or the other. What is the purpose of every item in a survival kit? Knowing this can help you to save your children’s lives in the event of a real-life emergency.
Build Your Own Safety Kit
You can combine the scavenger hunt with the process of putting an emergency safety kit together. This will help your kids learn how to put their own safety kits together on the fly in addition to learning why the various items are in their pack.
Your kids can also take the opportunity to decorate their packs. While it’s true that stealth is important during a bugout, nothing is going to say “prepper” less than how your kids are going to decorate their backpacks. A super tactical-looking pack will look like you’re well prepared. Letting a 6-year-old decorate their backpack will look like your kid grabbed his school bag on the fly.
All of this helps to create a sense of ownership over their bugout bag, as well as a sense of ownership over their own safety.
Family Emergency Plan Arts and Crafts:
Family crafting night can be an excellent time to teach your kids about the basic principles of survival without scaring the pants off of them. You can simply frame survival principles in terms of whatever craft you’re doing, tying it back to whatever survival skills you’re trying to impart to your child. Once everyone is done, they can share what they learned about the skill or skills in question while they present their finished craft to the whole family.
This activity not only reinforces the importance of the plan but also allows children to express their understanding and ideas in a creative way. It’s especially good for kids who are more creatively inclined than academically inclined.
Role-Playing Emergency Scenarios
Role-playing scenarios don’t have to be stress-inducing terror sessions for your family. Indeed, the entire purpose of role-playing a scenario before it happens is to teach your child to be calm, cool, collected, and orderly if and when disaster strikes your family.
The whole family should be involved in a role-playing scenario because you’re not going to leave without your entire family. Thus, it impresses upon everyone in the family the importance of having everyone together during an emergency or disaster.
You can start with very basic scenarios like fire, earthquakes, and power outages, scaling up the seriousness as children age. After all, what your kids are going to do during a major earthquake isn’t going to be all that different from what they’d do in a more end-of-the-world type scenario when it comes to getting in place for whatever comes next.
Remember: The goal of this is to give your children the confidence that they need.
Storytelling for Safety
Everyone getting together for the evening and crafting a story together is a great way to get your children thinking quickly about the right course of action during a disaster scenario.
Children – even young children – should be encouraged to add to the narrative as your family constructs it together. It’s your job to guide the construction of the story, emphasizing the importance of staying calm under pressure and making smart, informed decisions about unforeseen events as they arise.
Storytelling not only captivates children’s imagination but also imparts valuable lessons in a relatable and enjoyable manner.
Incorporating these family-friendly preparedness activities not only imparts valuable skills to children but also transforms preparedness into a positive and empowering experience. By making safety education engaging and interactive, families can ensure that every member, regardless of age, plays an active role in building a resilient and prepared household.
Do you have any favorite kid-friendly games or activities for preparedness? What are they? Share your thoughts in the comments below.