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Five survival skills for kids that you should know

5 survival skills that every child should know
Five survival skills for kids that you should know
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How many times have you said to yourself:

If I only knew then what I know now?”


It takes time to develop our knowledge and gain life experience, and what we learn we should pass on to our kids, so they possess basic survival skills to protect them against this unpredictable world. And if heaven forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves in some weird, horrible turn of events, we need to make sure that our kids have a handful of basic survival skills under their belt, even if it’s just to get to the phone and ask for help. So, here are five survival skills that your child should know now:

How to call for help

Whether this means running out of the house and to the neighbours to ask for help, or picking up the phone and dialling 999, kids need to know what to do when there is a crisis and they find their parents in some trouble. Ingrain into their heads your phone number, address, and medical details, if they’re old enough to retain that information. Teach them how to call for an ambulance or the police and keep reminding them that whatever happens, they are to call the police/ambulance first. They should know where family and friends live so they can run away from imminent danger.

How to feed themselves

Kids feeding themselves

If kids find themselves on their own, they need to know how to make food and feed themselves until help arrives. I have taught my boys how to make toast and cereal and grab things out of the fridge and cupboard. I’ve also shown them what spoiled food looks like and to smell the food before they eat it. My husband has taught them the basics of what not to eat from the bushes and trees. Teach them things like food storage too so if they’re stranded for hours they know where the food is kept and how it should be stored.

How to practice safe hygiene

Since they were old enough to use their motor skills, I have drummed the importance of hygiene into my boys’ brains. They still forget now and again, but washing hands is fundamentally important to minimise harmful germs entering their systems and making them ill. The adage, “what won’t kill you will only make you stronger,” isn’t exactly correct. If you’re sick, your body takes a huge knock which it almost never recovers from. The more of these knocks you get the weaker your body becomes. It’s great to build up your baby’s immunity but within reason. They are naturally building their immunity from the air they breathe and the things they touch. There’s no need to add extra germs that might make them very ill.

How to stay strong and healthy

We are a very active family who practices eating healthy and staying positive. Since the boys could walk, they were on scooters and then bikes. Now, at six and seven, they take part in a multitude of sports, including football, gymnastics and swimming. We have also bought them skateboards and in-line rollerblades for their birthdays because it’s very important to make sports fun and to teach them that exercising and staying fit and healthy is vitally important to surviving in the outside world if the forces of nature are against you. Since the boys were babies they have watched me exercise at home, so I’m hoping that this ethic will be ingrained into their heads and they keep it up into adulthood. Plus, sports and physical activities foster outdoor survival. Unstructured outdoor play is much more beneficial than structured indoor play, so make sure you take your kids to the local park/playground to enhance their mental and physical development.

It’s also a good idea for you to learn first aid so you can teach them basic skills, in case they are faced with a decision that may require basic first aid knowledge. It is also important to teach them about ailments they may face or injuries that require urgent attention. Any injuries to the brain, like brain contusions, need to be dealt with straight away, so they should call 999 as soon as possible.

How to make money

Girls making money from a lemonade stand

Unfortunately, money makes the world go around and, even though it may not directly bring you happiness, it buys you choices. Being poor hurts and constantly grafting for money hurts the family. So, I try to teach the boys entrepreneurial skills so they can watch out for gaps in the market and find their own way of making money. I am also instilling in them a good work ethic. They do £1 chores around the house, so they learn the value of the pound and I am teaching them to save money rather than spend it. If you haven’t started doing this yet, it’s never too late. The earlier you teach them, the more likely they are to become savers rather than spenders later on in life.

Bonus skill – take them swimming!

Above swim gear from Simply Swim*

Swimming, may not be an outdoor sport, but it is a survival skill. In case of an emergency, the boys need to swim to safety because they know how to swim. We take the boys swimming every week, and they have come on leaps and bounds with their swimming skills. We also kit them well in swimming gear from Simply Swim and take them even during the winter. We just make sure they’re thoroughly dry and wrapped up warm when they come out

There are many other survival skills to teach kids how to thrive in this world, like working hard and being responsible for themselves and being aware of their surroundings at all times. As they got older, it’s useful to teach kids about how to make a fire, shelter, and fetch water, as well as cooking over the fire too. Another important skill is to judge the change in weather and teach them how they to protect themselves during harsh seasons. Some schools in the US are now integrating a weather curriculum that helps children collect and analyse weather data. This is so they can understand what the weather changes mean and how they can work with them, especially thunder and lightning, which can be dangerous if you’re not in a safe environment. Technology that includes lightning detection helps children to predict further changes in weather patterns so they are better prepared during climate changes. Plus, it’s a great way to get them interested in how nature and the environment work.

The important point to note is that in a survival situation, kids should be able to think on their feet and armed with the survival tips above, they should be able to fend for themselves in case we are not around to help them. What other survival tips do you think is useful for kids to learn? Share in the comments below

Leyla Preston (595 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked!You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/


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