Being parents, we always want to shield our children from harm. It’s in our blood, our DNA. As a result, we meticulously plan for potential emergencies and train ourselves about how to deal with them. Besides problem-solving skills, leadership skills, your kids need to know the basic survival skills indeed!
It’s a good thing to teach your children to depend on you, but we can’t be with them all of the time. Would your children know what to do if they were in a survival situation on their own? If not, it’s time to instill some simple survival skills in your children.
Since your children learn best by doing, turn your spring and summer camping and hiking trips into opportunities to teach them survival skills. Even a casual walk in the woods will turn into a teaching opportunity if you share observations and knowledge that could save their life in a survival situation.
Start by pointing out different landmarks and geographical features that will aid even young children in orienting themselves if they become disoriented. Asking questions like, “Did you see that stream over there?” or pointing out things like, “Look, the mountain still has snow on it” or “Here are some deer tracks” will help them become more aware of their surroundings.
Let’s take a look at the eight most basic survival skills you can master.
In general, a person can go three weeks without eating but just a few days without water. As a result, teaching your children how to find and purify water in a survival situation is important.
Show them how water flows downhill when you walk or explore the wilderness with them, and point them to places with streams or pools of water. Often, keep an eye out for animal tracks leading to water.
You can watch this to find the water in the wilderness
Teach your children the value of maintaining body heat in order to survive. When they’re lost in the woods, most people wait much too long to decide where they’ll spend the night. As a result, when darkness falls, they are exhausted, cold, and hungry, and therefore lack the stamina to build a shelter.
Depending on the weather, making a bed out of a thick layer of leaves might be sufficient to prevent your body from coming into direct contact with the ground. When it’s raining or cold, though, you’ll need something more substantial.
Show them how to make simple structures out of tarps, tree branches, and leaves and how to find temporary shelter in hollowed trees or caves.
In searching for food
When children are in a stressful environment, they can become hungry easily, so teaching them how to forage for food is important.
Since many plants are poisonous or unpalatable, it’s best to start with the fundamentals contained in a good foraging book. Choose one with simple images and definitions of edible plants, as well as any poisonous plants that look like edible plants.
Elderberries, for example, are delicious and nutritious, but they’re easily confused with water hemlock and pokeberries.
Check out foraging.com or one of these helpful books for more information:
Start a fire
For three factors, learning how to start a fire can be crucial to survival in the wilderness. A fire provides energy, a means of cooking food and purifying water, and it aids rescuers in locating you.
Teach your children how to start a fire in a safe location away from the wind, then how to find kindling (small pieces of wood), tinder (dry leaves and pine straw), and wood that will burn all night.
Explain that logs the size of a person’s lower arm that is dead and dry (but not rotten) can fuel a fire well. Demonstrate how to stack logs so that air can flow through the stack, allowing the fire to burn more efficiently.
Using a compass and map
Your children are growing up in a world where GPS and Google Maps are commonplace. These and other inventions are resurrecting the lost arts of compass and map reading. These “old school” skills, on the other hand, could save your children’s lives if they get lost in the woods or on a mountain.
Teach your children to be aware of the landscape when they walk about outside, in addition to providing them with compasses. Suggest that they take note of the sun’s angle, landmarks, trees, topography, star patterns at night, waves, and weather shifts. They will even keep track of how long it takes them to walk from point A to point B.
Demonstrate how to walk in a straight line by lining up two trees or other landmarks in front of them as they walk. Stop to realign your location with the two trees if you start to see them separately.
Repeat the exercise after hitting the second tree by lining up two new landmarks immediately in front of you. You can also check your course by looking backward at the two previous points.
Knowing how to defend yourself against a physical attack will give you trust in risky situations. As a result, self-defense training is an essential part of kids’ survival readiness.
Firearm and other arms preparation, martial arts teaching, and wild animal knowledge and techniques are all examples of this type of education.
Showing your children how to clean and bandage a wound or make a simple splint is never too early. Making first aid kits for your children might be a fun family activity. Bandages, gauze, cotton balls, cotton swabs, scissors, alcohol pads, rubber gloves, safety pins, hand sanitizer, and other small personal things are all good to have on hand.
Situational awareness is one of the most difficult concepts to explain, but it is also one of the most important to master in order to survive an outdoor emergency. You should teach your children to cultivate an instinct or an attitude that will enable them to remain calm and rational in a crisis.
Discuss with them how fear can lead to poor decisions while staying calm can assist them in being rescued. Use outdoor family excursions to put their knowledge of their environment and abilities to the test.
You can also pretend to be in a frightening situation. If they get lost and hear wild animals howling nearby, remind them that they should arm themselves with arms like a long stick lit on fire.
Encourage them to focus on locating or constructing a shelter if darkness is approaching. Discuss when it’s best to stay put for rescue and when it’s better to travel to a safer place.
Your children are just as smart and capable as children from previous generations who learned and exercised these survival skills. Those kids simply picked up the skills as part of their everyday lives. When you teach your children to have a survival mentality – one that says, “I can do this,” they can discover that they are incredibly self-reliant as well.