If your children were lost or all alone in an emergency situation, would they know what to do? The idea of teaching survival skills to children might seem far-fetched, but it is really important for every family. Whether you live in a busy city or out on a rural farm, teaching kids a few essential survival skills could be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Here are the most important skills you should teach your child now.
Staying calm in a scary situation is not easy. This is a difficult task for anyone, but it is especially hard for a child. We we experience fear, the most natural reaction is panic, but that never leads to good decision making. Talk to your child about the importance of remaining calm even if they feel afraid. Sometimes it helps just to discuss potential scenarios ahead of time so your child can think through what to do if an emergency occurs.
Teach your children to always be aware of their surroundings and alert to any unusual sites, sounds, or smells. Imagine what a difference it can make in a school shooting, if your child is instantly aware of the sound of gunfire. Then the next reaction would be to take cover and hide! Teach these skills by pointing out your surroundings while you are driving or even going for a walk. When you notice an unusual sound, point it out to the kids and talk about it. This will build a new level of awareness that is important for survival.
If your children were stuck outside in the cold, would they know how to survive? At twelve years old, your child can learn basic techniques for starting a fire safely. All ages can learn how to dress in layers to stay warm and how to cling together for body heat if they are out in winter weather without a way to get inside.
Know First Aid
Children are fully capable of learning basic first aid, whether that is performing CPR or treating a minor burn. Sign the kids up for a CPR and first aid class at your local YMCA or check with the Red Cross and find a class that you can take together. All kids should have a basic grasp of first aid by the time they turn twelve years old. At age two or three, your child should learn how to call 911 for help in an emergency.
Know How to Get Home
If your child got lost or you were separated during an emergency, would he or she know how to find the way back home? Teach your child the basics of reading a map and help them identify important landmarks in your community that would help them navigate back towards home if they ever got lost. Even young children can begin this skill by learning their address, phone number, and the name of the streets around your home. This information could be essential and it doesn’t take long for a child to memorize it!
Call for Help
Children should learn how to call for help at a very young age. Learning to dial 911 is easy with the help of a toy phone. Practice calling for help and rehearse what you should say and how to give the proper information. If there is no phone nearby, children need to know how to find a safe adult they can ask for help. These are simple discussions you can have over the dinner table that could be life saving in an emergency.
What are some other important survival skills that you are teaching your children?