As parents there are a number of things we want to teach our children. But aside from passing down family histories, taking our children to church, and making sure they learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, there are a number of practical skills that we can teach them that can help not only to help stimulate their curiosity about the world around them but also literally save their life someday.
1. Situational Awareness
This is perhaps the most important survival skill you can teach your children. Learning how to judge their surroundings, keep from wandering into unsafe neighborhoods, and assess whether or not strangers are threats are vital skills that will keep them alive.
2. Basic First Aid
All children should learn how to perform basic first aid. What they’re able to perform is obviously age appropriate, so younger children should start off learning how to clean and dress a wound and apply bandages. As they get older, children can learn how to use splints, perform CPR, and other more advanced techniques.
3. How to Start a Fire
The first thing children need to be taught is fire safety. Teaching them how to respect fire but also how to harness it when needed is very important. Once they’re able to safely use matches and can be trusted not to play with fire, you can begin to teach them how to start a fire without matches.
4. Building Shelter
Building a basic lean-to, tent, or other primitive shelter can be a lifesaver if your children ever get lost in the woods. Children should know how to use various materials they may find to create emergency shelters.
5. How to Find Water
Human beings can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days at most without water. Teach your children about how water flows downhill, and teach them where to find pools or streams that they can use for drinking water. Teach them too about the various methods of water purification so that they don’t get themselves sick.
6. How to Use a Map and Compass
We live in a digital age in which we expect online map apps and GPS to get us to where we need to go. But those tools won’t always be available. Teach your children how to read a map and use a compass so that they can figure out where they are and how to get to where they need to go.
We hope that our children will never have to defend themselves alone, but that may be out of our control. Whether it’s other children on the playground, a potential adult kidnapper, or a loose dog, make sure that your children know how to defend themselves physically against any possible threats.
8. How to Shoot
In an age in which more young people play first-person shooter video games than actually know how to use firearms, the safe and responsible use of firearms is dying away. Teach your children the basics of gun safety so that they won’t harm themselves or others if they come across a gun, and teach them how to shoot so that they’ll be able to defend themselves if they’re ever home alone.
9. Protection Against the Elements
Children need to be taught how to keep warm in the cold, cool in the sweltering heat of summer, and dry during rainstorms. Teach your children how to read the sky to anticipate weather changes, and how to keep themselves protected against inclement weather.
10. How to Hide
There may come numerous times in your child’s life when they will need to hide. Whether indoors or outdoors, teaching them how to hide without being seen or heard and teaching them the difference between concealment and cover can be vitally important.