As Tevye would say “As the Good Book says…” we must become like a child. In emergency prepping we apply the same principle. Stepping into our childlike personas can make the difference when preparing for a family with children. Too often we find ourselves absorbed in classic survival preparation mode and fail to recognize that our smallest survivors need special treatment.
Below you’ll find 5 characteristics of children that can make or break your survival plan. Take each into consideration for your specific family needs.
Kids Are Picky
I know many well-intended people think that having enough calories to survive will be enough for their families; but in the case of children and the elderly this simply isn’t true.
First – If the food isn’t moderately satisfying, children will refuse to eat it. Sometimes this can’t be overcome no matter how hungry they are. Ask any mother who has struggled with getting their child to eat.
Second – Depending on the age and personal circumstances of the child they may not be able to eat what you have stored. For example, infants shouldn’t eat honey as a sweetener. Instead you’ll want to store refined white sugar. Also, most children today aren’t adjusted to wheat. So you’ll need to plan to use more bleached all-purpose flour for your emergency prep recipes. Do you have stored baby food, formula, etc.? Regardless of the age of your children, keep their little bellies in mind when you’re planning your food storage.
Solutions: Keep an eye out for the things your little one likes to eat currently. Even if you can’t dedicate a significant amount of food storage to their liking, mixing in a couple of their favorites here and there will fill in the gaps when they aren’t in the mood for the other stuff. Also, avoid MRE’s for long term food storage. For both children and adults they are limited in nutrients and considering we’re dealing with picky eaters every bite needs to pack a nutritional punch
TIP: If you can’t afford to revamp your food storage to better suit your children, simply add a few sweets they enjoy as incentive for them to finish meals. Lots of boxed snacks will last through the next ice age and can be stored along with everything else.
They Get Bored
So when an EMP has killed the TV and PlayStation what do you plan on having to keep your kids busy? As most parents know, without some sort of entertainment, children go crazy. And when children go crazy, mom and dad go crazy. This may seem like a minor problem at the start, but when days turn to weeks and weeks to months this can become a crisis of its own.
Something else to consider is the fact that children are very emotional creatures. Toys and games can be a comfort to them in times of disaster and really bridge the gap between reality and normalcy.
Solutions: Start collecting non-electronic games to keep your little ones entertained. Rubik’s Cubes, Paddle Balls, board games and other small toys will keep them entertained for hours. Also stock up on books, educational magazines and puzzles. A few things to keep your kids busy will make your life easier when you’re working on disaster control.
More Prone to Illness
Not only are children generally more susceptible to illness, but at the time of a crisis some of your children may not be immunized. Additionally, some crisis scenarios may leave communities without basic needs for hygiene – encouraging the spread of disease.
On top of viruses and bacteria, our little adventurers are more apt to bodily injury with their curious personalities.
Solutions: Store the children’s equivalent to all medications. You don’t want to be faced with the dilemma of leaving a child sick or poisoning them with an adult dose. Have extra first aid supplies tailored to their small frames. This applies to everything from bandages, to splints, to J-Tubes. You must also think preventatively as well. Consider adding things like sanitizer, face-masks and other things that will help keep your children from getting sick in the first place.
They Count as ‘Baggage’
If you have small children they will more likely than not become additional cargo in a bug-out scenario. Even kids with seemingly endless energy will get tired when bugging-out isn’t fun anymore.
Solutions: The only solution here is to equip yourself with the means to transport them in the most effective way. If you don’t have a bug-out vehicle and intend to bug-out on foot consider your other options and get creative. There’s baby carriers, wagons you can pull behind you, bicycle baby carriages. The possibilities are endless, just find what’s best for you.
They Grow Like Weeds
It’s like you blink and they’ve grown an inch. This can be problematic in many ways. They grow out of clothes – grow out of food – grow out of shoes – grow out of gear. No matter what you do, chances are they’ll grow out of it. This is unfortunately the most expensive child-like attribute to prepare for simply because you are forced to purchase the same items over and over, just in different sizes.
Solutions: There really isn’t a silver bullet for this one. I recommend replacing your child’s emergency clothing every 6 months if they’re under the age of 11. After that it’s pretty safe to do so annually. For infants and toddlers – these tikes grow exponentially so I’d advise you to have every size up to 18 months. Don’t forget the food either! Even if you just have a newborn, they’ll be wanting more than just formula in a few short months. Stock up on infant cereals and baby food as well.
Considering the demographic prepping has reached in recent years, there are many of us with children that we need to keep in mind with our planning. You’ll thank me later when SHTF and you’re little one’s eating their dinner, moderately occupied, healthy, warm and happy.