Prepping with Children
Prepping can provide us with many challenges – from finding suitable storage locations to selecting the right type of bug out bag. When you have young children in your family (under 7 years old) additional challenges are created. Can you imagine a young child sitting in your bug out vehicle for hours or even days on end while you head to your planned safe point without screaming about how bored or scared they are? How about needing to change your baby’s nappy but the local shop ran out weeks ago?
If we make some considerations during our prepping we can help minimise the stress and discomfort of our children during a shtf situation. This will make it much easier for us to deal with and get through. It is important that we talk about prepping with children to ensure they can help keep themselves and your family safe should the worst happen.
Prepping with Children under 3 years old:
Baby carrier or backpack
If you have to move quickly over any distance, a very young child is highly likely to slow you down (if you can get them moving at all). By using a baby carrier you can transport them quickly and safely. If you have a baby backpack then this will keep your hands free for any other survival task you need to complete. I would recommend getting your child used to being carried in this way now so when you have to get them in quickly, they won’t mind. These carriers also minimise the risk of losing your child as panic hits your area.
This age group have a very small attention span. Keeping them entertained off grid style is always going to be a challenge. However having a supply of colouring books, building blocks etc will help keep them occupied. At this age, your child will not understand what is going on. All they will know is that they had lots of toys yesterday and today you are living in the dark and everything is a bit dirtier. Having these supplies will help your child feel a bit more normal so will reduce their upset. If you can, try and keep bedtime routines as close to normal as possible. Story books may be needed too!
Storing enough disposable nappies to last a few days is probably realistic for most people. However we don’t know how long a bad situation is going to last so it is best to store a few re-usable cloth nappies (3 per child is recommended). By doing this you have an almost endless supply of nappies – just wash and re-use as necessary.
Make sure you have your child’s favourite blanket, cuddly toy or dummy if appropriate. Any emergency situation will be stressful for young children. Allowing them some quiet time with something they know and find comfort from will help reassure them that everything is ok.
At this age your child is likely to need constant attention and care. You may need to share responsibilities of child care and foraging between the rest of the family.
Prepping with Children 4 – 7 years old:
Bug out bags
At this age most children love having their own space to store their things. They also love gifts so it is the perfect opportunity to get them a small child friendly bug out bag. I am not talking about a military style backpack that is full of food rations and water purification methods. Giving your child a backpack that looks like their favourite TV character will give them the ability to carry some of their toys and clothes if you do ever need to bug out. The bag will need to be light and easy to carry. This will free up some additional space in your bug out bag.
Get them involved in your prepping
Ask your child to help you rotate your supplies, go camping with them, have fun evacuation drills and games. Get your child involved so prepping is normal for them. We do not want to be forcing our beliefs on to our children. But by making them aware of what we are doing and how they can help with it is likely to at least ensure they know what to do in an emergency situation. A good and very simple game to play is to blindfold your child and ask them to find their way from their bedroom to a certain room in the house just by touch. This will get them used to finding their way out of their room to wherever you are in the house even if the lights are out.
Children get sick. Their immune system is still developing so we need to ensure we have adequate supplies of cough syrup, ear drops etc. Also having lots of plasters for grazed knees and small cuts will be needed. As will suitable first aid supplies. If your child takes a specific medicine regularly you will need to ensure you have enough of this stocked too.
This is a great age for your child to help out and begin learning essential survival skills. Keep everything fun and exciting and you will have your own mini prepper in no time!