We are living a prepper lifestyle because we want to be prepared to take care of our family regardless of what life throws our way. Prepping is ingrained in our normal routine and the children enjoy learning new survival skills. Here are some tips we’ve found useful in raising happy, helpful prepper kids.
Don’t focus on the negative. Instead of scaring them about worst-case scenarios, let them know you are preparing for their future by making sure you have everything necessary to keep them safe and healthy no matter what disaster might strike. We started by focusing on what were to happen if our car broke down during the winter and someone couldn’t come get us & what if it started storming or we got lost while hiking.
Once we had created the adult bug out bags, we let each of the boys pick out a backpack and help fill it. For the littlest ones, theirs only contains a couple MREs, some light-weight snacks, a first aid kit (cheaper at Walmart but a great kit), and a survival whistle. The older two boys have the same, plus a fire-starting kit, bottles of water, and a little more food in them.
Then we started practicing drills. We came up with a word to let them know they needed to go to their safe room (a hidden place in our house) and a word to let them know it was safe to come out.After they mastered that drill (less than 20 seconds & silent) we moved on to bug out drills. We would randomly yell WalkBug (which let them know we would be bugging out on foot) and they would have to get fully dressed with tennis shoes on, grab their bug out bag, and line up by the door. As a reward for doing it in under 3 minutes, we took them hiking with their bags. While hiking, the adults paid attention to which kids tended to get easily distracted, who walked the slowest, who was affected by the heat the most, etc for future reference.
AutoBug lets the kids know we will be heading to the car. They had to get fully dressed down to their shoes, grab their bag, and line up. An adult will take them out to the car & they have to put their bag in the back and get their straps (2 are in car seats & 2 are in high-back boosters) on as quickly as possible. Our first time, they did it in 5 minutes 2 seconds…the fastest they’ve ever gotten in the car and strapped up, even though they had the extra steps of grabbing their bag and putting it in the back of the car.
Even though it sounds like work, they love learning new drills and feeling like they were helping take care of our family. We talk to them about natural disasters, like flooding and tornadoes, and keep our worries about civil unrest, foreign invasion, martial law, economic collapse, etc to ourselves because they are children and deserve to be innocent and carefree. Another “game” we play is survival skill building.
Each month, we pick a new skill to learn. So far, we’ve worked on shelter building, fire starting, tracking, and now we are working on plant identification. It’s a great way for us adults to brush up on our skills while we teach the kids and create wonderful memories. We invested in a few field guides like A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America, and some specific to our state as well as creating scavenger hunt printables (I’ll try to get those posted soon) to take with us on hikes. We try to identify plants we aren’t familiar with and then study how they can be used.
Other skills we planning on teaching the kids include self-defense (which my brother has already started teaching the oldest), first aid, fishing, hunting, water purification, and since we are a family that prefers to use herbal remedies & holistic therapies, we plan on teaching the boys how to brew herbal tea, make poultices, and reflexology.
Tips for Raising Prepper Kids
- Focus on your goals not negativity
- Start small with fire, tornado, earthquake, etc drills
- Teach them basic survival skills
- Let them join Boys/Girl scouts
- Read the Prepper Pete series as a family
- Give them responsibility they can handle
- Let them take classes that teach helpful skills (self-defense, horseback riding, archery, first aid, etc)
- Spend a LOT of time outdoors as a family – hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, foraging
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and expose them to a variety of foods
- Have technology free times so they find other ways to entertain themselves quietly indoors
Teaching children to put down the technological devices and focus on the future instead of instant gratification without scaring them can be very difficult, but raising children to become productive, responsible, kind, and self-sufficient members of society is a very rewarding experience.
What tips can you share with others raising prepper kids?