Written by Julie
“Start ’em young!”
Plant seeds in their souls to be courageous, empowered, responsible and self sufficient. ~me
My husband and I try to be realistic with our kids even though they might start asking some tough questions. We involve them in our “preparedness” because……
- Preparedness is part of our lives therefore part of theirs
- They are interested
- We want them to be able to handle many different situations
- Help them understand and mentally process that natural disasters can serious effect our lives, decreasing the shock factor.
- Teach them where to go for help (not just during an emergency)
- Give them the responsibility and security of having and caring for their own things
- Teach them new skills
This past year our 5 year old has graduated to his own “Go Bag” and he thinks it is fantastic! He carries it around the house and wants to bring it while walking in the woods. Every once in a while we go through it and remind him what each item is used for. Then we give him scenarios and ask him what he would use or do with his stuff. Simple things like, what item would you put on if the sun is shining on your skin? What item is the blanket? How do you turn your head lamp on and off? Oh no, the batteries are dead, What do you do? What is daddy’s phone number?
We decided he was ready to have his own pack because he is old and BIG enough to be responsible for it and physically carry it. It is beneficial for us as well because he carries his own stuff, which means less stuff in my pack. If we get separated he has his things. In a disaster situation he will have the security of his things with him and a sense of purpose and empowerment. Although he thinks it is fun he also takes it very seriously and most of the time he initiates our practice “bad guy and earthquake” drills.
Our “Go Bags” are packed for 72 hours with plans of being able to get to a safe place or home within 72 hours of a disaster happening. The content of his bag is always changing because the size of his clothes or shoes change and if he is capable of using a tool. I also may add seasonal things like a bathing suit.
- kid backpack (nothing fancy)
- energy bars: preferably 9 for 3 meals a day (sometimes the snacks gets raided)
- other light weight snacks in packages
- bottled water: He only has 1 because water is heavy, if we were to leave our car I would try to pack at least another one in his bag.
- head lamp with extra batteries and a small screw driver to change them.
- glow stick
- 2, N-95 masks
- toothbrush and paste
- small package of wet wipes
- sunscreen stick 55 SPF
- lip balm
- bandaids and some alcohol wipes in a pocket first aid kit
- 4 hand warmers
- kitchen size garbage bag for many uses such as: carrying more stuff, pooping in, sitting or sleeping on wet ground etc.
- entertainment; coloring book with crayons and small markers, blank paper and pens, 2 paperback books, a dice, small light up ball, paper matching game
- mylar blanket
- pants, short and long sleeve shirts, underwear, socks
- hat and bandanna
- 2 bread bags for inserts to keep feet dry if shoes are wet
- small amount of cash in low denominations
- family photo in a plastic bag with all our names, phone numbers, address, specifying no allergies or medications and out of area contact person with phone number.
Everything is kept in plastic bags based on category, incase the backpack gets wet.
When preparing a “GO BAG” I always try to use what we have on hand before I go spending more money. For this GO BAG the backpack itself is a hand-me-down from a friend (Christa my fellow blog partner in fact), the glow stick is from halloween, masks and hand warmers are from our stash, tooth brush and paste are from the dentist, I always have extra lip balm and sunscreen laying around, first-aid kit was free from a fair and clothes from his closet. The biggest ticket item was the head lamp and that was less than $15. So look around your home or ask friends if they have anything you’re missing before you go to the store. Once you have the bag packed, don’t forget to put it in your car.
Remember every bag will have different content because people use and need different things. It is important to go over what and how the items are used every once in a while to refresh. Teach them basic (but important) information about themselves like their full name, phone number and address. Many activities are great to introduce and expose your kids to “preparedness/survival” skills. Any outdoor activity like camping, hiking, fishing, gardening, going to the bathroom outside (explain sanitation), cooking without electricity, fixing things and being resourceful with the things you have, etc. are all great ways to start talking about this stuff. Good luck.
I hope you found our version of a “Kiddo Go Bag” helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions.