When you are in the thick of rearing children it seems like a period in your life that will never end. It’s a whirlwind, the schlepping kids around, the constant cleaning, the worry, the cleaning, the discipline, the feeding, the lessons, did I mention the cleaning?
Take from those who have come before you, these days, when the kids are young and full of innocence and enthusiasm, these are the best days of your life! These are incredible moments that you should enjoy and overindulge in. Truly!
While you have their ears and their eyes, there are also tremendous lifesaving skills that you should teach your child when living on your homestead. These are a wide range of skills. Some of these your child will learn just from living with you and seeing you in action. Others, well, others will only come if you teach them.
Let’s look at 15 things you should teach your children to save can their lives.
1. How To Grow Food
From sunlight to soil, there are some simple things that anyone can do to be successful in growing food. There is no part of the process that an older child cannot participate in. There is also a great satisfaction that a child can have from planting a seed, watering it and eventually eat the fruits of their labor.
Growing food is fundamentally a human skill of survival that has supported our kind since the Neolithic age.
2. How To Start A Fire
Don’t worry about the bow drill fire. Its not about creating fire from primitive means. Get some matches, a lighter and a good fire extender in your kid’s hands. Show them how to gather pencil sized sticks, kindling and fuel and how to create an effective fire lay. From there it’s a just a matter of setting the whole thing a blaze. There is not a kid alive who won’t enjoy that part!
3. How to Swim
Our world is covered with water. The mighty seas and oceans, along with ponds, lakes, and manmade water attractions, are all opportunities for great fun, if you know how to swim; or life and death situations if you don’t know how. Swimming can be learned at a school by a coach, or by consistently bringing your children to a water source and swimming with them.
If you are not a trained swimmer, there are some benefits to having your child learn how to swim at a young age by a professional, but paying for lessons is hardly a necessity.
Water can either be a source of great fun or anxiety for your child. Still, no matter how great a swimmer they are, it is also important to let them know about limitations like tides, floods, the power of the ocean and threats while in the water. However, in a life or death situation, if there is a flood and your child must save himself, your child needs to know how to swim.
4. How To Hide
Kids love the game hide and seek. There is no reason why they shouldn’t become downright experts. If a child can hide well, they can quickly disappear in a dangerous situation. Hiding from a dangerous person who is trying to do others harm, is always going to be one of the best ways for a child to stay safe.
Start a hiding game with your kids where you use a code-word to let them know it’s time to hide, and use the same code-word to let them know its OK to come out. This is a great way to get your children used to hiding at the drop of a dime, without telling them the world can be a terrible and dangerous place.
5. How To Dial 911
When we hear a story about a 4 year old calling 911 to save his/hers sibling or family, it’s not by accident. When children are taught how to call 911 and taught their address, at a young age, they are prepared to save themselves and others. It’s a powerful skill!
Related: Backyard Projects That Might Get You Arrested
Building confidence in your child’s instinct is a massive part of keeping them alive. They are equipped with an intricate survival system that teaches them to fear the dark, fear snakes and spiders. It goes beyond that. When they get a feeling that something isn’t right, listen and help them feel that out. In time they will trust their instinct and it could save their life!
7. How To Layer Clothing
Kids hate this one, but they will understand it if you take them on a walk in the cold weather. Unfortunately, most kids don’t like getting all bundled up. However, if they have been really cold before, they will appreciate the difference it makes when they have base layers and outer layers and insulating layers. Hats, gloves, and good boots are another pain but when a kid understands that they work they can be safe in the cold weather. In extreme weather, layers and materials can make a difference between hypothermia and survival.
8. How To Think
There has never been a society so setup for preprogramming like ours. The screens and the schools are just built to show your child how to be, rather than teaching them how to think. Learning to think for yourself is a skill and it is one of the most important survival skills your child can learn. It can be applied in the wilderness or in a high rise during a job interview.
The key is to ask them questions like, “What do you think about that?” and “How would you fix that?”
9. Self Defense
There are serious limits to what your child can do to get away from a dangerous person who wishes to do them harm. A grown adult is a real problem for a small child. However, if they know how to bite, pull hair, attack the eyes, the throat, and other weak points, can give them a chance to pull away from a bad person and get away.
In the school yard, self-defense training is often the difference between who gets picked on, and who doesn’t. It’s not about punching each other, but it’s about a kid’s confidence that they can handle themselves.
The ability to get up after you have fallen and fallen and fallen, is key to life. Its critical to have a good life. Resilience in the face of the physical, financial, and emotional setbacks is something your child has to learn.
Pushing your child to do hard things and allowing them to fail and get back to work, is what it takes to build resilience. Children only learn resilience in the face of adversity so be sure you don’t shield them from adversity.
11. How To Cook Over A Fire
Cooking is probably the most valuable and overlooked skill in our society today. When you can cook, you control what goes in your body and that is a big deal. Even if you teach your children how to boil pasta and warm up some sauce, it is better than them being terrified of the stove.
However, knowing how to grill food over a fire is essential. Cooking food with stakes, kabob style, is something kids can do with hot dogs when they are 4 years old! Its not that hard, but it is about exposure.
12. How To Filter and Boil Water
When you say filter and boil water it is easy to move right to high grade water filters that are store bought. However, with the charcoal that you create from your fire above, and sand from the river bank, you can create an effective water filter in a large handkerchief or the sleeve of your shirt.
Teach your kids to filter water enough to make it palatable, and boil it to make it safe, and they can stay hydrated and alive.
13. How To Navigate Using The Sun
While navigation using the sun is not as exact as a compass, it is a basic skill that can put your child back in the right direction if they are lost. By understanding the sun’s path across the sky, you will easily be able to explain how to find east and west.
If your child knows what direction they are traveling, they can simply head off in the opposite direction if they can discern a little about the sun. You can also teach the to track the sun’s movement by placing a stick in the ground and marking the shadow with a stone. Wait 15 minutes and mark the shadow change with another stone. This will give you a truer east to west line and from there you can intersect a line to create north and south.
14. How To Use a Knife
Like fire, most kids are scared of knives, because of the possibility that they could be hurt. Teaching a child how to hold a knife and how to do some fundamental things with it, can make a world of difference. A child should be able to strip bark off a stick, create a point on a stick and slice food with a knife. They should also be able to sharpen that knife.
15. How To Tie Knots
Knots are critical in setting traps and building shelter. Start them young with knots, so that they can become proficient. Most kids don’t go beyond the knots they use to tie their shoes. However, there is a world of knots and uses out there.
Related: 25 Things We Did as Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today
Academics are merely one aspect of learning that your child should undergo in their lives. You decide the curriculum of life skills that your children are exposed to. These skills are things that the world cannot take from your child, no matter how crazy it gets out there!
The beauty of teaching your child these skills is that it can be a great time for both of you! You don’t need a lot of reason to go for a swim, hit the heavy bag, head out into the woods, or just sit down and talk about something important as thinking for yourself.
The future is looking strange. So, get your kids trained up!
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I would put a few of these ones mentioned, all in Number #1. Very important, and all related (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9). Thanks for the article, couldn’t agree more!
With little time now days, it would be nice if you didn’t talk about your self as much as you do. I see your pride when you talk and smile….beautiful. But get to the point tell of your self along the way…..not all at the front. We are looking for something, I’ve already bought most of your books and love love them…..Just food for thought.