Thursday, February 23, 2023

Emergency Preparedness for Your Young Children

By Tim Gamble (Twitter, Gab, Subscribe by Email)

Let's start with the most basic question of whether or not to even discuss preparedness and survivalism with children. And if so, what and how much to tell them.

Over the years, I gotten a few variants of the following comment: Tim, I don't want to talk to my young children about these topics. It will only frighten them. Besides, I am here to protect them, and I don't want them to ever think or worry that I won't be. 

I understand that sentiment, but the reality is children do have to face dangers and emergencies in life, even sometimes when their parents are not around. Pretending otherwise is not helpful to your children. 

You are NOT protecting your children by trying to hide uncomfortable truths from them. Of course, use commonsense in deciding how to talk to your children about scary subjects. You don't want to be overprotective and thus endanger your child, but you also don't want to needlessly frighten your child. Children do mature at different rates, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You have to decide for yourself what is best for your children, taking into account their individual ages, maturity levels, and abilities.

Emergency Preparedness for Your Young Children

1) All children should learn their full name, address, phone number, and parents' full names as soon as possible, well before kindergarten. Yes, young children should know their parents' real names, not just mommy and daddy. My mother taught primary grades (k-3) and was constantly surprised by the number of her students each year who didn't know this basic information. Seriously consider getting your children  "dog tags" to wear with their name, address, and parent's name and contact info, along with blood type, allergies, and any other important medical info. Dog tags work better than ID bracelets, in my opinion, because you can include a lot more information on a dog tag. Dog tags can also be worn under a dress, shirt or jacket, making it somewhat more difficult to lose than a bracelet. Besides, little girls love wearing necklaces like mommy does, and little boys will think their "army" tags are cool. 

3) All children should learn how to call 911 in an emergency. And they should know what a police uniform looks like. Please, don't teach children to be afraid of police officers. Making a political statement isn't worth putting your children at risk in an emergency. 

4) Teach your children basic safety rules: 
  • "Stranger danger" - to be wary (not frightened) of people they don't know.
  • To not open the door for people they don't know.
  • To not tell people over the phone that Mommy and Daddy aren't home.
  • To not to play with matches, guns, or knives.
  • To not run with scissors. 
  • To always look both ways before crossing the street.
  • To not play behind, under, or in, parked cars.
  • "Good touch, Bad touch" - to not let other people touch their body in ways that make them uncomfortable, except under certain rare circumstances (doctor's office, etc).
  • To not play in the pool unless and adult is watching.
  • To wash their hands before eating, or after going to the restroom.
  • To never keep secrets from their parents, even if a teacher or other authority figure tells them to keep it from their parents (EXTREMELY important these days)
Children, especially young children, really do need these reminders often.

5) Five quick rules for social media:
  • No child, including teens, should have any social media or email account that is private, secret or hidden from their parents.
  • Parents should follow their children on all social media (and pay attention!).
  • Parents should have the passwords to all social media and email accounts of their underage children.
  • No using social media to bully other children, and always tell a parent if someone is bullying them over social media.
  • To never talk to strangers over social media. Family, friends, teachers, classmates are okay, but some random 40-year-old stranger isn't. (Folks, if your teen daughter especially is on social media and you aren't paying attention, I can almost guarantee there are older men following her and trying to flirt with her. It is sickening.) 
6) Children should start learning first aid early on. I remember being taught basic first aid in school when we were in fourth grade. There's no reason whey we couldn't have started learning the basics even earlier.

7) Teach your children to make health and fitness a part of their lives. Teach them to eat healthy and to be physically active. Limit their screen time (TV, computer, gaming system, etc.), and make them spend some time outdoors. Better yet, teach by example. Activities such as walking, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and gardening, can be dome as a family.

8) Scouting-type clubs and 4-H clubs are great ways to help kids prepare. They will be active, learn new skills, build character, and learn self-reliance. Concerned about the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts moving away from traditional values? It mainly depends upon the leadership of your local scout troop, so get to know the troop leaders. Or, consider Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls as Christ-centered alternatives. Or, create your own scouting-type program at your church. 

9) If there are guns in the home, teach your children gun safety early and often. This starts with teaching them to respect guns, not to fear them. I grew up with guns. I was hunting with my grandfathers when I was still in my single digits, carrying and shooting my own gun (a .410 shotgun) under their supervision. They taught me how to safely handle guns. Do the same for your children, boys and girls. 
Ad: Survivalist Family: Prepared Americans for a Strong America, by Pastor Joe Fox (aka Viking Preparedness), is a great guide to beginner and intermediate preparedness and survival for both short-term disasters and long-term emergencies. Highly recommended!!!  

1 comment:

  1. Consider signing up for Medic Alert where they ID tag has a toll free number form someone to contact. Medic Alert has three paid plans that will allow you to store contact information, medical information, doctor information etc. The “dog tag” has first name, medical info (allergic to nuts), and their toll free number. Perfect for when you cannot speak for yourself. ( )


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