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  • Kids and prepping

    How much do you get your kids involved in prepping? We've been pretty open in our ideas about things with ours, but we also try not to scare them. But I'd also like to see them develop some useful skills - just for life in general and also if something were to happen they would need to help out. We've already made some life changes - heating with wood, hang drying clothes, cloth diapering, homemade foods, and they've all been on board and helped. I home school and was thinking about making part of their studies based on learning a new skill - any ideas? Has anyone done this before and know of any good resources/books for kids?

    Just as I typed this I thought a Boy Scout book would be good for the boys!

  • #2
    My wife and I have wrestled with the very same issue.
    We have a 9.5 year old daughter and a 17 year old son.

    My son is his own little universe, where if it's not his girlfreind, car or XBox it doesn't matter or really even exist to him. He see's pepping as a waste of time and money, and since he is 17 and already knows more about life and the world that we live in, than I could ever dream of knowing, I don't bother trying to change his mind.

    My daughter is a different story. My wife and I don't talk to much about the "bad stuff" that could happen, but instead tell her that we like to be prepared for a bad snow or ice storm. She's seen a few of these storms in her life and knows what it's like to be without electricity for a few days.
    She has taken to gardening easily and see's that as a hobby and a fun way to grow food.
    We also have started tent camping as a family (minus the teenager.. no way he could make it with out XBox) and she gets involved in building the camp fire and cooking over the Coleman stove.
    As she gets older I'm hoping she kind of grows into it and see's prepping as a part of everyday normal life.

    I will say this though. Kids talk. They have friends, and they talk about everything and anything. I've learned the hard way not to divulge the extent of my preps to either of my children. Somehow, someway, someday, they will mention to a friend, neighbor, or family member that Mommy and Daddy have a basement full of food, and then the jigs up. As far as anyone is concerned I store just enough to last a week or two.:cool:
    Last edited by slowz1k; 08-06-2010, 02:49 PM.
    The 12ga.... It's not just for rabbits anymore.

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    • #3
      I would reccomend THE AMERICAN BOYS HANDY BOOK By D.C. Beard. This was the first Boy Scout Manual before they came out with their own. It was originally published in 1890. Some examples include, How to build several different kites, boats, anmal traps and snares and old fashioned toys. It explains how to capture and care for birds fis etc. and how to build cages and aquariums. It tells you how to build shelters and fire how to catch fish and food and all those things that boys were interested in in those days. I highly reccomend it for the do it yourselfer and outdoors enthusiast.
      Originally posted by mabear View Post
      How much do you get your kids involved in prepping? We've been pretty open in our ideas about things with ours, but we also try not to scare them. But I'd also like to see them develop some useful skills - just for life in general and also if something were to happen they would need to help out. We've already made some life changes - heating with wood, hang drying clothes, cloth diapering, homemade foods, and they've all been on board and helped. I home school and was thinking about making part of their studies based on learning a new skill - any ideas? Has anyone done this before and know of any good resources/books for kids?

      Just as I typed this I thought a Boy Scout book would be good for the boys!
      SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE

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      • #4
        slowz1k - it is a tough call, we also talk about moving further out, and I wonder how fair that is to them? We have 9 kids (b 15, g 13, b 10, b/g twins 9, b 7, g 4, b/b twins 2) and our older ones are wanting to get more involved with society (jobs, activities) at a time when we want to be less involved - such a conflict. They are all interested in learning skills though (the boys want to focus on defense, of course - rolls eyes.) they've done a good job so far of not talking, but now that you mention it I should be more careful, and all those 55 gallon blue drums I have placed around the house should probably be covered up or hidden. I am like you though - I hope this just becomes a natural way of life and they grow up knowing what to do to prepare - I feel so overwhelmed trying to figure much of this out, maybe they won't have to go through that.

        nakadnu - I looked up that book and it sounded like a good one that most of them would be interested in. I think I'll order a copy. I also saw copies of the US Army Ranger Handbooks - too much too soon?? I think my boys would be totally inspired if I incorporated that into their reading/lit/vocab/spelling and got rid of the text books!! I also read that the 1992 version is often prefered over the newer versions - anyone with any thoughts on that??

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        • #5
          1. Home schooling your kids: I tip my hat (and hang my head). We don't have the courage to do it (yet). Part financial, part laziness, part suburban situation. Take a bow mabear!!!... with sincerest and warm regards, I salute you for taking the first fundamental step that we have not. You should feel extremely righteous in this endeavor.

          2. Kids, prepping, not scaring them: I'm pretty direct with my kids. My wife, while supportive, is the balance in this. I don't tell them zombie stories, but I do remind them that power and water are luxuries. The power, they get it (our subdivision is the first one to lose power during heat waves -brown out- and heavy rain -who-the-hell-knows-why). I can look out our window, and two streets over, they have power during nearly every outage we experience. Weird, but a convenient reinforcement for my argument.

          3. Kids, prepping, involvement: we live in the burbs, so when I built a raised garden bed out of scrap wood, they were interested in why. Growing from seed has interested them both. Still learning (I suck at gardening - but I won't quit). When I dusted off my neglected shotgun, my son took interest. He didn't love shooting it, but he thought it was kinda cool. Daughter... still working on her ;) with a smaller gauge gun.

          4. Kids, prepping, shopping: I try to explain about inflation, using some of our savings TODAY for stocking up on necessities that will be MORE EXPENSIVE TOMORROW... boy gets it, girl doesn't really care (or acts as such). No problem. I'm patient.

          5. We took some day trips to "lands near us" to view possible (and consider buying) bug out locations. They enjoyed the trip, we spent family time doing so, but I never lectured or preached. Just said we were considering the purchase of a weekend cabin, etc.

          Bottom line... (just my opinion) you MUST expose the young ones to the realities of what's gonna come. Wife and I may be long dead and dust before it does, but kids listen to their parents. The pre-teens and teens will act like they don't, but they always have one eye open. We are exposing them to more prepping theories as months go by. And your idea of teaching them skills... rock on! When selecting skills to teach, think low tech... gardening, carpentry, cooking, sewing, first aid, farming skills, etc.

          Books... if available, Half-Price-Book stores are a great resource. Of course, so is the internet :)

          RA

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          • #6
            Oh my gosh, Recently_Awoken, don't be so hard on yourself. Both public and home school have their pro's and con's. I questions home schooling on almost a daily basis. Some days I know in my heart it is the right thing to do and others I feel like a total and complete failure!!! I would find it easier and more enjoyable if we had less kids, but as it stands I am usually ready for a adult drink by about lunch time...lol.

            Thanks for your input, we have a lot in common. And yes, always low tech. Ya know, I've got rid of most all of the battery powered toys, all the handheld game systems, and have replaced those things with old school Fisher Price (from back in the day when they made fun toys that worked on imagination or wind-up) and for the older kids, just the age old "go OUTSIDE and find something to do!!" and really, they seem all the better for it. It's a slow process though, for them and for me - it's hard to mentally move away from a lifestyle that you've spent your whole life being told was the "right" way to live.

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            • #7
              As far as public school goes, we're luckier than many. We live in a conservative area. No lunes or left wing nuts encountered (yet) at the schools. Already had a chat with the principal and put in a "HARD STOP" for my kids for the day Planned Parent Hood folks make their 'rounds' at our school (vultures!). Sorry. Off my soap box. The grade school is top notch, comparatively speaking, for how it stacks up against others near us. We do feel lucky, to an extent. But much of the top-notch education they're getting (I believe) will be lost on them, should the unthinkable happen.

              As mentioned before, it's hard to make a complete jump to a remote, off-grid, prepping life style when kids are involved. You don't want to take them away from friends and sports and the life style that WE! demonstrated to them for so long as normal. You do feel guilty when you consider going this route. Yet, I watch the news from here and abroad. I see the world tearing itself (and spending itself!) apart. I see our leaders (past and present) tearing the guts out of what was (and still could be) the greatest democracy on the planet. I see shortages. Famine. Floods. War. Suffering. I see trouble here and abroad, it's increasing, and it's happening now.

              I shake away my despair and re-enter thinking/planning/prepping mode, and I see a small farm. I see my family on it. I see it being passed down to my children, and then theirs (God willing). It's one of those things you have pray hard and long on, but eventually you have pull the plug on one life style and enter another. It's tough. With kids, it's tough 10 fold. The problem many of us have is we're paralized by finances because we're trying to purchase one life style and still hang on to the other. Bet hedging if you will. Slows things down and brings frustration and (if you're not careful) massive debt. Suffice it to say, the self sufficient rural folk are positioned much better to cope with the tatters that society is flapping itself into. You really can't get around that fact.

              Kids and prepping... something I wanted to touch on before but didn't...
              I do believe it's important to have "Need-to-Know" lines (that are not crossed) when involving them. As one mentioned earlier (quite wisely), there are things you DO NOT share with them until they are approaching adult age. And that would be food stores you've put up and the resulting quantities. Two reasons:
              1. Security. As one said before, the party would be over if your larder and stores were common knowledge if TSHTF
              2. Ridicule. Kids do talk, and they would be innocent in sharing their pride of your prepping efforts but would likely be ridiculed for it (eventually). Kids are cruel.

              When I was "recently awoken" in the recent past, I discussed a bulk food purchase with the wife. Without divulging too much, the purchase was months-worth and storable for the extreme long term. We decided to schedule all purchasing, shipping, delivery efforts of this purchase to take place while kids were not in the home. We did this, and promptly "put up" the purchase in more than one location, both here and away from our home. They (kids) know nothing about it. Again, for security purposes and to keep their confidence and friends intact. Beyond that, we just buy more when we go to the store and have started food rotation to build up our supply. We haven't gone "Mormon" yet, so the pantry and additional food closets go largely unnoticed.

              However, this is largely due to our dog... kids go to friends houses to play. Rarely do they entertain here. My avatar (pict) is our house dog. Way too cute, loving, and PROTECTIVE!!! You can light off a nuke in the front yard and she's cool with it. Lay one finger nail on the front door, and she go's totally wolf-sh!t. We thought it was an act. She corrected our thought process shortly there after when a child/friend came to visit :( Anyways, long story long... you can never ever be too quiet about what you buy, how much you buy, where you put it, and why. Ssssshhhhhh :)

              RA
              Last edited by Recently_Awoken; 08-07-2010, 10:53 AM.

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              • #8
                I agree you have to be careful how much you tell your kids about your preps. Kids don't have the life experiences to be able to judge people and may be easily taken advantage of when the SHTF. Most teenagers are desperate to be accepted and popular and may use the fact that their family has a lot of stuff to impress people.
                I asked my 17 year old and 13 year old nephews this question. "How many of your friends would share a pack of ramen noodles with you if neither of you had eaten in a week or more or would they sneak off and eat it themselves in secret?" They both answered they did not know anyone their age that would share their food. If you have teenagers you will most likely agree they can be very selfish and this may show itself in a crisis situation.
                SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE

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                • #9
                  I have 2 girls. 8 and 13. They are more involved then my wife is. They both have their own camping/Bug Out Bags and we have spent many days hiking and learning bushcraft skills. I make it fun and don't push anything on them. They don't even know they are becoming little perpers. It's just a fun and exciting way of life for them.

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                  • #10
                    Hey RA,

                    It's good that you guys have decent schools there. We started home schooling when our public schools went to 4 days school weeks due to lack of funding:( that on top of other PS issue's and I was done, though I had always been on the fence, anyway.

                    We moved to the country almost 4 years ago - we are a good 20 minutes from any town, and an hour from a city. But when we bought our home and property the only things I worried about was having enough food and water in case of a minor crisis - things have changed a lot since then. If we were buying today we would have bought less house and more land....hindsight! Moving out further would still be a big transition, but not as bad as going straight from town life to the country. We are already so cut off (my husband works from home, and with the home schooling we don't have to interact with the outside unless we want to) but the kids do play sports, plays, choir, library activities, which is just the right level of interaction for us, but it's already a pain to trek them into town, moving out further would make it just that much more of a pain. Some days I want to tell myself that this is good enough, we are out far enough, but I'm not so sure about that. And like you said, who can afford both, you have to pick one or the other. I don't want them to hate me later because we drug them out to nowhere and feel like they grew up with a crazy mom who waited for the end of the world. Though, end of the world or not, both dh and I are ready for that lifestyle, it's what we want regardless.

                    The kids knowing is hard in some ways - they are with me when I purchase food, and when I decided to start stockpiling I explained to them why their diet was about to change - that we could continue to eat like we had been, and save nothing, or we could make some changes now and start storing some food for if we ever needed it later. I don't think the amount of food we have registers with most of them. I shop at a restaurant supply store, so everything I buy is in huge quantities anyway, and I do once a month shopping, so it is always a van full of food, stockpiling or not...lol. They have all raised their right hand and sworn on their lives to keep their mouths shut - that's gonna have to do. I have no way to get rid of all 9 of them at the same time long enough to get much done.....talk about big brother...lol.

                    We have to watch our German Shepard too....she's not real into visitors.

                    Nakadnu - honestly, selfish wouldn't be a word I would use to describe any of my children, but especially the teenagers. Granted, none of them have gone without food for a week, but it's been ingrained in them to always think of the "greater good."

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                    • #11
                      On home schooling vs. public schools, the only issue I have with home schooling(and I am not against it) is that we have friends that have a daughter close to the age of mine(4). The poor girl clearly has a problem. We believe it is Autism, it also runs in the husbands family. They are in complete denile and they are planning on home schooling, so instead of the administrators catching this issue and getting her the proper help, the parents will act like nothing is wrong until she is older and it is that much more obvious and maybe too late to get the right help.

                      I also think the social interaction is good for growing children.

                      Like I said, I am on the fence because of what is taught in the schools (we are in Illinois, what a joke).
                      He who lives with the most toys, wins.

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                      • #12
                        here's a though when i was a child i played outside built forts had bb gun wars and most of us turned out alright except for ole one eyed jolly battle of the creek left eye taken out by sniper fire hehehheheeh but on a serious note i thought that was what all boys do
                        the pack that plays together stays together

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                        • #13
                          lol...yes, I know what you mean, but in today's world I'm not so sure that stuff is a part of all boy's growing up years. My boys do play outside - they have dug a fox hole, they have bb guns, air soft guns, sling shots, they swim most all day in the summer, 3 of them are in football this year, they mow and weed eat the yard, split, stack and carry in firewood, they know how to cook and run the washing machine - they're not sitting in front of the tv - we don't even have cable, so I guess they do have some skills, I just meant something more structured and geared towards specific skills....or maybe just growing the ones they already have.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by monet861 View Post
                            On home schooling vs. public schools, the only issue I have with home schooling(and I am not against it) is that we have friends that have a daughter close to the age of mine(4). The poor girl clearly has a problem. We believe it is Autism, it also runs in the husbands family. They are in complete denile and they are planning on home schooling, so instead of the administrators catching this issue and getting her the proper help, the parents will act like nothing is wrong until she is older and it is that much more obvious and maybe too late to get the right help.

                            I also think the social interaction is good for growing children.

                            Like I said, I am on the fence because of what is taught in the schools (we are in Illinois, what a joke).
                            No offense, at all.. but, its not the administrator of a school that would properly identify a childs needs.. public schools are in many ways, over crowded, and under budget.. they dont always care.. not always, butmore times than none. Home schooling has its advantages and disadvantages... hats-off to parents that do it. its hard, hard, work, and the responsibility is theirs to bear. So much can be taught and learned by home schooled families.. But, as far as social interaction, IF the parents are anti-social, more times than not, so will the kids... but, there are so many programs for homeschooled kids, these days. Staying involved with sports, and even metro parks activities, can keep them social, and always learning skills! :)
                            If the zombies chase us, Im tripping you!!!

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                            • #15
                              my grandfather got me into prepping as a kid. though Ive only gotten really serious about it the last few years. but ive always had at least two bug out bags set up, and a get home bag. and at least a month of food. plus various tools and survival gear on hand.

                              anyway... LOL. how he did was make it and adventure for me. he got me to read Huckfinn, Jack London, Robert Louis stevenson. anything that had characters that were in survival/adventure situations. it got me fired up when I learned things that were in those storys. how to start fires, build shelters, rappel, make fish and animal traps. etc...

                              no reason to get kids scared, eventually if nothing happens they will blow the whole thing off as stupid and pointless. but they will love an adventure. well some kids will at least LOL.

                              My grandfather is one of the reasons I started doing guide work in the first place. just to help pass along some of the great memories for Parents and their kids to share in later years.

                              great thread.

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