As a Prepper, your top priority is to keep your children, your spouse and yourself safe and out of harm’s way. A bug-out-bag is something we usually prepare with the bare survival essentials to cover the areas of food, water, shelter, navigation and self-protection. I admit there are a lot of great bug-out-bag lists out there. The one thing I haven’t found yet is one for kids. Their needs are different from ours and should be taken into consideration. If Armageddon is upon us, as much as we might want to ignore it, our children will have to grow up fast and do their fair share. Anyone five and up should be pitching in. You would be surprised how proud it makes a child to be a supporting part of a family in dire straits. Ask your grandparents or great grandparents, they will tell you that they started doing chores at an early age.
Let your child choose from various backpacks (light weight material and wide straps), so they know they are a part of this team. Let them try the backpack on and see which one feels better. Once you have the right one, let your child/children pack it, this way they learn what is necessary and what they can do without. If they insist on taking unnecessary things, go ahead, let them pack it and the next time you take them to the park or for a walk have him/her wear it for an hour. You will see how quickly they learn to make essential choices.
You might not think it’s important what you eat as long as you eat, for kids it’s a different story. You should have things that appeal to them. Packing honey is a great way to have something that is not only healthy, but sweet and can be used in various ways. It comes in light weight plastic bottles that are easy to carry. A drop of honey in that boring water, which we all need to survive, can make a big difference for a child. It doesn’t have to be candy bars, it actually shouldn’t be the chocolaty and sugary sweets they’re used to. Raisins and other dried fruits will do just fine. This is something they can practice now. Not only are these foods healthier, they are more filling and will satisfy for a longer period of time. An important aspect if you have to ration your supplies to reach your destination or your next food drop.
A multi vitamin product for your children will be necessary if your nutrition is going to be one sided or lacking which, in case of a catastrophe, could very well be the case. They too take up minimal space and can help keep your child stay healthy during your travail.
Aside from the medication, which you surely already have packed, there is another item I think should come with you (in your backpack). Disinfecting wounds is going to be paramount when there’s no doctor around and no tetanus shot left to protect you. A small bottle of tea tree oil can go a long way and it won’t take up much space. It’s a natural antiseptic and can be diluted with water for many different purposes. It’s not just for the kids, it’s for everyone. The best part, it doesn’t burn. We all know that children will fall and, when they do, you want to be ready. However, don’t let children handle the oil. It also has antifungal property. It’s an amazing tool in your first aid supply and something you might want to investigate a little further.
Sounds crazy for a bug-out-bag doesn’t it? If you do pack something for this aspect of your child’s needs you will be thanking me. If you come into a situation where things need to be quiet, you can’t move around a lot and you are stuck in one place for a longer period of time, you will want to make sure your children are entertained. You don’t have to drag the Gameboy or other contraptions, revert to the older games. A deck of cards is light and can be used for so many games it will be hard to get bored. By the way, I know some adults who would appreciate that too. Balloons are easy to carry too. Blow one up and use it as a ball, plenty of games you can come up with for that as well. Pack some string or twine, which you should have in your adult version anyway, and use it to make toys with twigs and pine cones and anything you find lying around.
You may be prepping for Armageddon or just for the next hurricane and that’s fine. The question most preppers tend to ignore is the “after”. What happens when you come back home? Is everything still there, are the children’s toys where they left them, is everything as you remember it? If you’re lucky it will be, if you’re not, you may be in for more grief than you bargained for. Protecting your home while you’re gone, no matter how short or how long you’re away, is just as important as being prepared to leave in a hurry. The less trauma your family has to deal with, the better. Equipping your home with a security system is something everyone can and should do.
Some of these things may not seem important to you now but they will be. As an adult prepper, you are aware of what could be, what might be and you have the foresight to prepare envisioning various scenarios. You’re the one with the nightmares. You can be grateful that your child does not have these capabilities, because they haven’t had the time to develop them. So be prepared no matter what.
About the author: Naomi Broderick is a professional writer and with three children, she’s becoming a professional parent, or so it seems. When she’s not playing with her kids she writes for Protect Your Home, a leader in home alarms.