There Is a Lot to Learn About Preparedness From a Kid’s Perspective. Let Your Kids Teach About Preparedness, You’ll Be Surprised How Much They Understand.
As a family, we recently took the time to go through our 72-hour kits. As much as I should be a shining example of an up-to-date super prepped kit, I’m not! You know, life gets in the way and we’ve had a lot of “life” in the last several years. So in total honesty and vulnerability, I will admit we are five years behind on our kits and missing two kids! Sad but true!
However guilty this lack of preparedness has made me feel, doing our kit “checkup” as a family was a good experience. So I thought I’d share five thoughts and observations from our humbling family kit rotation night.
Kids Are Great Rotation Reminders
Once my kids saw (and tasted) how far behind on the kits we were, they have been my allies in getting it caught up. They stayed with us the whole time and helped write our replacement lists. Now when I go to the store or even randomly throughout the day, they remind me of what I promised to get or add.
We all know kids have the memory of an elephant once they decide something is important, so having their cooperation means it shouldn’t be such a long time span before our next rotation.
Listen to Their Suggestions
My kids are great at giving their two bits on everything, and this was no different. We had some great family discussions about preparedness while we sorted through our kits and discussed what needed to be replaced and any changes they felt we needed to make.
My four older kids are becoming teenagers, and they felt strongly about having individual emergency kits instead of a shared family kit. Their reasons why and insights in what it should look like were very insightful and reminded me how mature they have become.
Discuss More Than Just What Applies to the Kids
I organize everything into Ziploc baggies, so it’s easy to find and replace. The kids knew which bags were their clothes and entertainment items, but they were interested in what was in all the other bags and all the equipment.
We ended up teaching them about the crank style NOAA weather radio (Amazon)and showing them how it works. Why we store the batteries outside of the flashlights. Why we had work gloves. Their questions brought more insights and helped us determine that there were things we needed to include for them than we had realized.
They Grow Out of More Than Just Clothes
I thought I’d done a good job picking items that would grow with my kids for entertainment in their kits. They got a good laugh out of some of them. The girls quickly dismissed the Barbie dolls and they each upgraded to a different book to read. They dismissed the Legos as juvenile – and then returned them to the pile- and dismissed, and returned them again. It was like watching the internal struggle between being children and being a teenager.
All the school workbooks were outdated, and I realized at this point getting a workbook for them was going to be a headache. They said a notebook for writing would be enough. So that’s what we opted for instead.
At this point, I have to use google to help them with their homework (thanks, common core). The surprise of the night came when they all requested to keep their stuffed animal and little blankets in their kits. It just goes to show that they are still little kids inside.
Talk About What You Are Preparing for and Their Concerns
As we discussed the equipment and needs of our family, we had some great teaching moments about disasters. The recent fires and hurricanes that they’ve heard about give them a chance to upgrade their understanding and build on the things we’ve been teaching since they were young.
We discussed the earthquake forecasted for the Pacific Northwest, what it could be like, and what to expect afterward. We talked about forest fires and how evacuation procedures work. My favorite discussion was about their roles after the disaster in helping with clean-up and recovery. They each requested to have their own set of work gloves in their kits.
This family meeting has been a great time to revisit and review your family emergency plans for different disasters.
Overall I can’t say our evening was full of good food, although we had some good laughs as they attempted to eat stale crackers and granola bars from their kits. But it was a great bonding experience for our family. I don’t think any of us could tell you what movie we were watching as no one paid attention.
My kits are still in need of a few items, and I need to add MRE’s. We all learned the importance of biannual kit rotations; we also learned a lot from each other that you will never find in a blog post, even one of ours.
My favorite lesson from the whole experience is to learn about making kits and preparing for emergencies from your children’s perspectives, and then do what you need to do and adjust your emergency kits, your plans, and dare I say even your life.