For many of us, our families are essentially the reason for our prepping. We want to do everything we can to make sure they are safe, no matter what happens in our lives. When it comes to our children, especially young kids, there are a few needs we should ensure we address.
Nutrition: Often, as we are starting out with food storage, we stick to the bare essentials and we may overlook the real nutritional needs of our children in particular. A good multivitamin can help bridge the nutritional gap when we’re feeding our children strictly from our food storage. Growing bodies also need a lot of protein and calories.
Kids eat a LOT of food, all references to childhood obesity aside. My 12 year old is skinny as a rail and yet at dinner, we might as well just tip the fridge over into his mouth. While we might poke a bit of fun at how much teenagers eat, the reality is their bodies need that food to grow. Be sure you have ample food stored for your family.
Also, don’t forget that kids are the most picky eaters on the planet. Granted, push comes to shove they’ll eat whatever you put in front of them if they are hungry enough. But, going through the arguments about how they liked potatoes just fine two days ago and it makes no sense that they now can’t stand them will accomplish nothing other than increasing stress in an already stressful situation. Provide variety in the foods you store and don’t overlook a bit of junk food here and there.
Hygiene: With the young children in the family, this refers to diapers and wipes, as well as a means to either clean or dispose of them. Even those parents who are die hard users of cloth diapers might consider investing in a box or two of disposables. In many disasters, it will be far easier to dispose of them than it will be to use possibly precious water resources to clean reusable ones.
You know how you can tell a male child has truly hit puberty? The clouds of body spray that fill the entire bathroom hallway. Face it, kids can just plain stink. Plan ahead for providing a means of washing up regularly.
If you have girls in the family who are approaching the onset of menses, plan for that as well and stock up on the necessary supplies.
Entertainment: Every parent dreads rainy summer days, waiting for the inevitable, “There’s nothing to do!” Now, imagine those days of being cooped up going on and on for a week, two weeks, or even longer. Shudder. Invest in some cheap board games, toys, books, and other distractions and keep them boxed up until they are really needed. Do what you can to update that box from time to time to keep the contents age appropriate. The eye rolling from a fifteen year old being presented with Chutes and Ladders may prove to be deadly.
Education: If you are planning for extreme long-term scenarios, don’t forget to plan for the education of your children. Invest in homeschooling texts and other resources in the basic subjects like math, science, and history. Stock up on extra notebooks, pens, pencils and other supplies during back to school sales.
Above all, get your kids involved with prepping. Don’t make it a mystery to them. At the appropriate ages and maturity levels, teach them skills like canning, tracking, shooting, first aid, and fire building. If you have active Scout troops in your area, they can be a great way to help your kids learn wilderness skills. Obviously, there will be some things you want to wait until your children are much older before you share with them, such as perhaps the extent of your food storage. It takes a while before young people truly appreciate the importance of OPSEC.
Let them help with packing their own Get Home Bags, plan and prepare meals, and build snow caves. Teach them actual skills in addition to basic sentence structure. Show them how to change the oil in the car, then have them do it next time while you supervise. Get them involved with home projects so they learn how to turn a screw and cut a board. Make them understand that the best meals don’t come out of a box and get tossed in the microwave.
Your assignments this week:
1) Begin planning your preps for any children in your family. Augment your food storage as needed, for example.
2) Add three gallons of water, minimum, to your storage.
3) Starting this week, I want you to set aside at least five dollars and sock it away somewhere. If you can spare more than that, great. If not though, shoot for at least five bucks. You’ll find out why later.