Summer has finally come! One of our favorite activities during the summer is going out geocaching. A lot of these take us on nature hikes and state parks. With having four kids, even with two parents watching, there is always a chance for a child to wander off. So having the kids knowing some basic survival skills is essential. I admit though, I am a little rusty on which skills to focus on. So we reached out to our friend Howard Scalia (former scout leader from Austin, Texas) to help us out with this task. He was willing to share his five basic military survival skills you can teach your kids with us! Check out his post below!
5 Basic Military Survival Skills You Can Teach Your Children
In situations where a child is ready for camping or picnic in the woods with friends, parents are struggling to provide it with all necessities for a couple of days, but it can always come in handy when some of its survival skills have can be used properly. Your kid can easily be found in situations that he or she is lost somewhere, searches for something that is of his/her interest or simply forgot the way home, especially when you live outdoors. When it is found in these situations, it is important to know some basic survival skills that can help you kid survive long enough to be rescued. As a caring and responsible parent, it’s your job to prepare the kids as best you can, in case they get lost or get stuck out overnight. Here are five things your kids should know to do if they get into trouble outdoors.
Maybe the most important thing is water. Three days without water is a maximum for most people because your body will already be dehydrated. The funny thing is your stomach will scream for food after just a few hours and you’ll feel worn out (mostly from the sugar crash), but food is one of the last priorities. You’ll be just fine without eating for weeks. Your child needs to know how to find water that is safe to drink. Rain can be the safest source of water for kids in an emergency. But they also need to know how to boil water from a stream or creek. Teach them to find smaller, cleaner streams to drink directly from in a dire emergency. This water may have pathogens that might make them sick, but it’s better to be alive than dead and ill from dehydration.
Keeping your energy up is important, you will be burning a lot more calories than you are used to burn. All this survival stuff is hard work. The thing about food is, if you do not know what it is then do not eat it! Contrary to popular belief, plants are not your best avenue in a survival situation. Also, fishing is quite easy to learn, easy to teach and does not have to involve lots of expensive equipment.
Shelter building can be a lot of fun for children, especially if you make it fun for them. Simple leaf huts and lean-tos are easy to build, and the kids can use it as a fort when you’re done. If you teach them to build the frame and a sturdy manner, and insulate the walls with thick vegetation, their shelter could certainly save their life. Make sure you show them that the natural shelter is a camouflaged shelter, so they need to mark it somehow for visibility. Your shelter does not have to be a mansion, but something substantive enough to keep you from the natural elements like rain, snow, and wind. At least a bed of leaves or broken trees on the ground will you keep your body heat.
Your child needs to know how to light a fire. Fire is an important survival skill because losing body heat can kill you just as quickly as lack of water can. Lighting a fire will also help signal your location and it can also help in purifying water and cooking once you find a food source. Teach him how to keep it under control.
Although the last on the list, does not mean it is the least important. It’s been said that in a survival situation, you can live three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without air, 3 seconds without a clear mind. You need to teach child to feel like it is a solvable situation and to continuously have that in mind. With these skills in mind, it is easy to learn and use other skills and abilities, but without it, you can not think reasonable and all learnt previously will not be helpful.
None of us wants our child to end up in such situations, but it is always better to teach it then to hand it over to the nature. Besides, these survival skills can be implemented later in mutual picnics and trips, and your child may be very helpful when you decide to go fishing or spending time in the wilderness.