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Four survival skills that are most important for children

Four survival skills that are most important for children

What do Survival skills mean?

Techniques that one may use in order to sustain life in any type of natural or built environment are known as survival skills. They are meant to provide basic necessities for the sustenance of human life, such as water, food, shelter, and so on.

Apart from raising our children on the values of right and wrong, we also need to consider incorporating basic survival skills in their upbringing. All parents want what’s best for their children and are always looking out for ways to protect our children from any and all harm. When we diligently prepare ourselves and care for every possible emergency ourselves, it is also important to teach survival to children and not just let them rely on us always.

Why are learning survival skills important?

Many of you may feel that it is such a pointless endeavor in today’s world. As human beings, we evolved to such an extent where hunting, gathering, making our own shelter, avoiding wild animals or unsafe environments does not feel like a necessity now. After all, the chances of our children getting lost in the woods or us losing our kid in a crowd in an unknown city are very slim.

However, at Sherwood High, we believe that children need to be aware and have practical, applicable knowledge for each and every situation that they may or may not come across in real life.

Though we hope and pray that no harm should ever come to any of our children, we need to equip them with the means necessary in case of any emergency. Something as simple as a family camping trip or hiking trip can turn into a tense situation if the child wanders away from the campsite or during a trekking adventure. According to a study, 41% of adults lose track in the woods even after they leave a trail but can’t find their way back and children on the other hand were full of curiosity and fascination with the natural world are even more at risk.

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So it is important to make sure our children can and will survive whatever odds they face and even minimal training can help increase awareness and help them when necessary. It is also important to make sure everyone in your family including your little ones have the skills they need for a successful survival, whether you’re camping, hiking or facing a real-life emergency. What we mean here is age appropriate training skills which will help them in situations if and when necessary, meaning that you can begin training your little children as young as four or five years old.

Teaching Children Survival skills:

We understand that there are some concerns involved when teaching children about survival. As their knowledge base is quite limited, the training we need to provide them with will have to be in a thorough manner. Some survival techniques may require the kind of strength that some children may not possess yet, so as parents we need to be mindful about what we expect and what we teach our children and make sure they are age appropriate.

We have many opportunities in which children can be part of like Scouts and guides where they can learn a lot of skills which are useful for survival situations.

Most important survival skills to teach your children:

1. Bushcraft skills:

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Skills such as these are best learnt by doing rather than in theory, so the next time you plan your camping or hiking excursions, make it a point to turn them into opportunities to teach survival techniques to your children. Even something as simple as climbing up a mountain or walking through the woods can become a teachable moment as you can share your observation by pointing out various landmarks and geographical features that will help children orient themselves if they get lost which could be a lifesaving thing in a survival scenario.

  • Teach children the importance of retaining body heat, that is, considering shelter when they are lost in a natural environment. Teaching them to find or build a shelter may be one of your top priorities because if one gets lost they might get tired, cold and hungry which will lead them to lack stamina for an efficient search for shelter before the darkness settles in. You can do this by showing them how to find temporary shelter in caves or hollow trees and teach ways they can construct simple structures and so on. Remember that children are especially good at finding hiding places, so the next time you can also play a game with your kids when you’re out in the woods and see who can find the best shelter first, but be careful to monitor them so they don’t get lost.
  • According to statistics, human beings can survive three weeks without food but not even a few days without water, hence it is absolutely important to instruct children how to find and purify water in survival situations. As you explore the natural environment or you take up a hike together, teach them about how water runs downhills, and how to spot streams or pools of water, about looking for animal tracks that can lead to water sources, and so on.

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  • When we are in a stressful situation, we tend to get hungry more quickly, which applies to children as well, so teaching children how to forage for food is also very important. Though children may know the different types of plants and fruits they study in schools, it is important to emphasize that there are many plants that can be either poisonous or unpalatable. Choosing pictures and descriptions that are clear and detailed to teach them the difference between edible and deadly plants that resemble edible plants will help them a long way.
  • We should teach children how to prepare and build a fire without the use of a lighter or matchstick. Though it might seem like a difficult feat to achieve, dozens of people who get stranded manage to do this every day. Fire provides many abilities to survive in the wilderness; like keeping them warm, they can cook food, keep wild animals at bay, boil water to cleanse it and keep insects and flies away as well. 

2. Situation awareness:

This is not particular to being out in a wilderness or a natural environment but is one of the most important skills to learn in order to survive any outdoor emergency.

This you can teach them on an everyday basis, by starting to point out landmarks and create meeting places for any emergency. When you’re either walking them to school, visiting a park when you are at the mall or on a hiking trip, etc. Along with informing them, you can occasionally test them by having them navigate your home from a specific place, which will help them practice what you’ve taught.

You will also have to teach your children to develop an instinct or mindset to keep calm and be level-headed in a crisis situation. Emphasise that panic can cause them to arrive at wrong decisions while remaining calm can help them greatly. Use any of your outdoor family activities, as a fun way to test this knowledge that you have imparted on them practically, to know about how much they are aware of their surroundings, and test their skills on situation awareness.

3. First aid:

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It is absolutely important to teach children about first aid and how to administer it first from a very young age. We should teach kids to make use of all the items found in the first-aid box and know what they are and what they are intended for.

Though most children know about band-aids, they might not know how to clean and bandage a wound or how to make a simple splint. So teach them how to use basic items such as gauze, cotton swabs, rubber gloves, safety pins, sanitizers, bandages and other small safe personal items.

4. Self-defence:

Confidence in any situation can help children, this is especially true in dangerous situations because knowing how to protect themselves from any physical threat will enhance their confidence and increase their survival chances.

Self-defense is probably one of the hardest areas where you need to train your children for survival because becoming proficient in any type of self-defense be it martial arts, firearm, weapon training, requires a lot of time, discipline, and dedication. So teaching children at least one means of self-defense would increase their chances of being safe in any situation by manifolds.

In Conclusion:

However, We do understand that survival techniques are not everybody’s cup of tea, but you would be surprised at just how much you can achieve by simply trying to teach them to your children. It is when they are young that they are the most flexible and adaptable to new learning and new experiences.

It is important to remember that our children are just as smart and strong as we make them believe, so by teaching them to learn and practice survival skills will not be very difficult. When you model a survival mindset for your children they can handle anything that is thrown at them and they will also learn that they are extremely self-sufficient.

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