When a disaster strikes, it’s a natural reaction for people to panic, even if they’ve experienced such an event in the past. For as nerve-wracking as an emergency situation is for Mom and Dad, it can be downright terrifying for children. One of the best things you can do to make sure your whole family is ready for a natural disaster scenario is to involve the little ones and let them help with the preparations, emergency plans, choosing the right survival kit, and so on. Doing so instills confidence in them, can help them feel more grown up, and also ensures everyone is on the same page as to what actions to take if a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other disaster strikes.
The Great Outdoors
One of the easiest and most fun ways that you can help prepare your children for a disruptive emergency event is to go hiking or camping. If you live in a city, even just walking somewhere instead of taking the car can help them get comfortable with traveling on foot for long periods of time. Start off small, and then gradually work your way up. Try to make it fun and reward them. If you have access to hiking trails, let the kids get acclimated to the environment and nature. Help them learn how to navigate their way through different terrain around where you live.
Perhaps even more effective and fun than hiking is a family camping trip. Knowing how to use a compass or pocket knife, understanding how to build a fire and cook food over it, and learning how to build a makeshift shelter are invaluable survival skills that aren’t taught as much as they used to be. This is also a great time to see if your bug out bag or purchased survival kit will actually last you as long as you intended it to. If it doesn’t, then you know what changes to make to better prepare your family for a real life disaster.
Planning and Practicing Evacuation Plans
One of the most neglected aspects of emergency preparedness plans is to actually practice an evacuation plan. If you have more than one child, let them choose what they want to be responsible for - one can remember the flashlights, another can pack the first aid kit, and so on. Once you formulate an evacuation plan, it’s important to practice it and do trial runs should you ever have to follow the plan in an emergency. Everyone remembers practicing fire drills in school, and practicing your evacuation plan is just as important for everyone’s safety.
Let your children ask any questions and have discussions with them about the possibility of a natural disaster in your area. Help them understand that while certain disasters aren’t always common for your location, you can never be too careful or too be prepared - so plan for the worst, and get the best possible outcome.
Check out all of the valuable content, emergency preparedness recommendations and survival gear from More Prepared. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your family during a natural disaster.