Getting your kids involved with your prepping plans is tough. When they’re small, there isn’t much that they can do to be of help. When they get older, they have friends and a social life and a sense of immortality that make it hard for them to comprehend that life may change in an instant.
Teaching them to prepare for disaster involves tact and patience. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when helping your kids to prep.
Don’t Scare Them, Much
The very fact that we’re prepping indicates that we have at least a small amount of fear. You may call it being realistic, or being able to read the signs of the times. If you’re honest, we’re all a little bit scared, too. It’s natural because we’re preparing for a traumatic event that we may not survive.
Some fear in this case is healthy. Stealing your kids’ sense of safety isn’t, though.
Kids need security in order to develop properly. Until your kids are old enough to understand what you’re doing, treat your prepping as just another daily activity. “Mommy and Daddy are getting ready for an emergency by making sure that we have enough food and that you know what to do, just in case.”
Make your practices part of their regular routine, just like fire drills at school. Don’t yell if they don’t do something right and don’t overreact. In short, don’t terrify them to the point that they don’t feel safe.
Don’t Assign Them Too Much Too Soon
If you started prepping before your kids were born or when they were small, introduce them to it and include them in your plans in natural increments as they grow into it. If it’s just another part of their life, like taking out the trash or doing their homework, then you’re on the right track.
If they’re watching Rambo at 10 and can identify the weapons mistakes throughout the movie, you probably may be moving a little too fast. Let them be kids.
Don’t Assume that They Know Something
Just because you’ve been adding to your stockpile or target practicing in front of them since they were small, don’t assume that they picked up on everything.
They may know that your magnesium stick is used to start fires, but you need to teach them the technical skill as if they’ve never done it before, because they haven’t. You don’t want to leave holes in their training, so start at step one with every new task.
Don’t Force Your View of Prepping on Them
Just because you were a cheerleader or a football star doesn’t mean that your kids are going to excel or even be interested in those activities. The same holds true for prepping.
Instead of forcing your views or methods on your tweens or teens, sit down and have an honest discussion with them. Impress upon them how important it is for them to take part in your plan, but work with them to figure out exactly what role they are going to take.
By including them in the planning and the decision making, you’re acknowledging that their opinions are valuable to you. Though not prepping may not be an option, there’s no reason why they can’t determine, at least in part, HOW they participate.
Be reasonable with them. If they can’t imagine an apocalyptic event, approach it from the natural disaster angle. Even kids know that those happen.
Kids Have Never Known a World without Technology
Putting a compass into your child’s bug-out bag won’t do a bit of good unless you teach him how to use it. The same thing goes for fire kits, maps, or signal mirrors.
Kids need to understand that in a SHTF situation, they’re not going to have access to cell phones or GPSs. Don’t make the mistake of not training them in “old school” methods.
Don’t Underestimate Your Kids
You’ve done your best as a parent; don’t underestimate your kids. When push comes to shove, family is family. If you’ve taught them well, they’ll do whatever they need to do to help out. With that in mind, give them the tools and training that they need to do so. You may think that it’s all falling on deaf ears, but you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.
Also, as they get older, consult them and work with them. You may just get some great ideas or gain a perspective that you’d never considered.
Because prepping isn’t exactly mainstream, getting your kids on board, especially if you start when they’re older, can be tough. These are just a few common mistakes that you can make when helping your kids to prep. Use common sense and your knowledge of your child in order to do what’s best for your family.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.