What would happen if a disaster, natural or otherwise, were to happen while your child was away from home? Would he be able to find you and get home safely? Could he tell a police officer or a teacher how to find you?
There’s no way that you can plan for all possibilities so the best way to keep your child safe, and get him safely back to you, is to educate him and teach him what to do well in advance. PREPARE him (or her)!
Today we’re going to talk about how to teach your kids to survive a disaster.
Teach Them Their Vital Info
This is crucial. Make sure that your kid knows his or her full name, address, phone number, illnesses and your name, phone number and place of employment. It’s also a good idea to include an out-of-town relative that could be called in an emergency.
Put this information on a list in your child’s backpack and teach them where to find it if they need it. Teach them that it’s critical that they leave that list in there!
Teach Them How to Get Home
Knowing a physical address isn’t always going to be enough; your child should know how to find his or her way home from common places that you go.
Since they don’t drive, they likely can’t tell you how to get from point A to point B because they’re too busy playing with their toys, chattering or sleeping. After all, they don’t have any reason to know where to take a left to get to your street.
This need to change. Your child should be able to give you directions to and from common places such as school, the grocery store and grandma’s house. To teach them this, have them give you directions as you drive. They’ll get it wrong a few times but even a kindergartener can learn how to route you home with practice.
Make a game out of it so that it’s fun. Be sure to use landmarks that aren’t likely to change; take a left at the post office, take a right on Lucy Lane. Trees can get blown over and landscape can change quickly so consider that as you’re teaching.
Teach Them how to Use the GPS Function on the Phone
GPS systems may not always work and all kids don’t have cell phones, but if they do, teach them how to use the GPS system to get home.
Mark home on the system to make it simple for them because they may not be thinking too clearly when they’re trying to do it in a real situation. We all know how easily kids pick up technology, so this shouldn’t be a challenge for most school-aged kids.
While you’re at it, teach them how to check the weather app too.
Teach Your Kids the Bulletin Board Procedure
This is exactly what it sounds like; should your family become separated during a disaster, you can find each other by leaving messages on local cork boards. Post offices, convenience stores, grocery stores and many restaurants have a public bulletin board so that their customers can post ads.
Teach your kids where these are at and develop a plan using certain ones as a means of communication.
Teach Them How to Use the CB
If you use a CB (citizens band) radio in the car or in the house, teach your kids how to use it too. If one of you is within range of the CB, the other can find a CB to use somewhere.
Most commercial trucks have them, as do emergency vehicles though you’ll want to teach your kids never to get into a private vehicle just to use the CB. Even if something should happen and you’re out of commission in the car, your child should know how to operate the CB to call for help.
Meet Siblings First
If your kids go to the same school, they need to plan where to meet in case anything ever happens. Many schools won’t permit this in a terrorist situation but if a natural disaster occurs and your children are left to their own devices, they need to find each other before leaving the school.
Have them establish two meeting places; preferably one inside and one outside, to meet with each other before heading home.
Keep Your Children Physically Fit
This may sound mean but it really isn’t. A huge portion of American children are obese and so out of shape that there’s no way that they could walk 3 or 4 miles if they needed to, not even to survive.
We always stress the importance of keeping yourself in decent shape in order to give yourself the best chance of survival so now we’re putting it out there for your kids, too.
Equip Your Children with Cell Phones or Walkie Talkies.
If your kids are old enough to use one, they should have a cell phone if they’re in school. Even if it’s just a prepaid with a few minutes or texts on it, get them something so that they can contact you to reunite.
Walkie talkies are great too as long as you’re in range of them and the batteries are good. Don’t forget to pull them out of your kid’s bag and check the batteries every couple of months.
Don’t Forget to Plan!
So many times, we hear people say, “Oh, he knows to just come home.” That may be true, but how is he going to get there? What if your house was destroyed and you have no way to get ahold of your child to arrange a different meeting place?
Plan for any eventualities that you can think of, then practice them. This may sound like a ton of work, but if it helps you and your kids reunite right after the storm, you should consider it a labor of love.
The best thing that you can do to help reunite with your child after SHTF is to plan with your whole family. Teach your kids where to meet up with you and then practice-practice-practice. This is how kids, especially young kids, will learn what they should do.
Make sure that your kids have everything that they need to get home. Maybe a bottle of water in the backpack would be a good idea, along with a couple of energy bars and a compass. That’s the short list that a kid should have but it’s a start!
The bottom line is that you’re not going to be able to calm down as long as you know that your child is missing.
Don’t be passive; take an active interest in where your kids are and what they’ll be doing while they’re gone so that you can find them if you need to. Communication and practice are the best ways to teach your kids how to survive a disaster, so start now!
Do you have any cool ideas about what kids should know immediately if SHTF? If so, please tell us about them in the comments section below!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.