A child at this age can begin to contribute towards the family’s prepping. They will be able to undertake many tasks while under adult supervision such as collecting firewood, setting up camp, foraging, and many more. This is also a good age to instill the prepping mindset in kids. Have them tag along as you build your bug out plan and pack your family bug out bag to get their minds working.
Starting to learn basic survival skills is an excellent way to involve kids as well. Train them in basic first aid to start off with. This means they will be able to provide some assistance if the parent gets hurt.
It is wise to put photos of the family in the pockets of school aged children. In the event you are separated, they will be able to show these to authorities or other people they encounter to help find you again.
At this age kids also begin to spend time away from their parents at school. Because of this it is important to drill into them where to meet if a disaster occurs.
Lastly although school age kids can show some initiative and take on some responsibilities it is important to recognize that at some point in your bugging out the parent will most likely have to carry them. This may be due to exhaustion or just facing difficult terrain. Regardless of why you need to be prepared to do this and have a family bug out bag packed in a manner that does not prohibit carrying your child.
Family Bug Out Bag: School Aged Kids (Age 5-10)
- Non-battery powered toys: Keeping your school aged child’s hands and mind occupied will go a long way in making the situation more bearable for both you and them. Plan on packing at least one non-battery powered toy in your family bug out bag to keep your child entertained when you set up camp for the night. Ideally this item will have many uses and ways to interact with it. Think simple, and light and a single toy, not something with many pieces like legos. It is good to have your child pick this item and put it in the family bug out bag themselves as it will help them understand that it is a special toy they are setting aside as part of the family’s preparedness planning.
- Comfort item: Kids this age know enough to pick up on the cues around them to know something is wrong. Pack a familiar item for them in your family bug out bag to comfort themselves with. This may be a favorite toy, blanket, or stuffed animal. Having something they are used to interacting with will make the bug out situation less overwhelming for them and reduce parental stress.
- Child’s Bug Out Bag: School aged kids will be able to carry their own backpack with a few supplies to take a small amount of the load off the parents. You may be able to pack some of their clothes or other lightweight items in their pack or split up some of the group’s basic essentials such as rations or other survival items among the gear they are carrying. Be careful not to overload the child. One-pound worth of gear per age is a good guideline, and of course if your child is small for their age keep that in mind and go lighter. If you load them down and tire them out quickly you are going to have to carry them AND the gear.
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