People don’t realize just how adaptable children can be when they’re thrown into an emergency situation like an evacuation, but that said it’s always best to prepare them as much as you can beforehand. Here’s some great ways to prepare your kids without worrying them unduly. When you’re a child life is an adventure and that’s pretty much how you need to prepare them for an evacuation. It’s imperative you don’t let your fear and anxiety show because children pick up on that very easily.
Start by organizing some impromptu camping trips. This is when you don’t tell your children in advance that you’re going. If they’re asleep then wake them up earlier than you normally would and tell them you’re going camping. They may moan and groan a little about being woken up but try your best to be excited and positive.
Get your kids used to understanding what essentials you’re taking with you on the trip. You could even make it into a game by pointing out individual items and asking them what they are and what they’re for. Give them points for guessing them correctly and reward them with a pack of cards, coloring book and the like. Whilst you’re out camping it’s important you involve them with survival skills. Depending on their age you’ll want to show them things like: how to pitch a tent, how to make fire and also how to fish. These are all essential survival skills that will make the trip interesting for them.
If your kids are used to being taken from A to B in a car you’ll want to get them used to moving quickly whilst carrying a back pack. Obviously you don’t want to load them down with anything too heavy, but they should be able to walk around the block a few times with a small backpack. Take your children out regularly to do this. Once again, you want to make this an interesting walk – ask them what they can see; use a map and compass to add more education to your outing. This will get them used to navigation.
The most important tactic to implement when preparing your children for a possible evacuation is to actually explain what evacuations are and how they can keep people safe. You may want to use a few scenarios and if they go to school they will probably be well aware of emergency practice fire alarms.
Above all else, let them know that emergency times are not a time to be difficult and sulky. They need to get used to the fact that instructions are given for a reason, to ultimately keep them safe and away from danger.