Teaching your child outdoor skills can come in handy, in case of an emergency. However, these skills can sometimes take time to master. While it is not the ideal situation for your child to be left alone in the wilderness but it is helpful for them to know how to both fend for themselves and take care of themselves if possibly injured. These survival skills can often teach them the valuable life skill of leadership and eventually help them later as an adult.
You are the only one capable of determining your child’s maturity level and what they can be capable of mentally and physically. When teaching them these skills, it is also essential to understand their interests. For some kids, they may excel at fishing, while others would prefer to be more crafty.
Teaching your child to fly fish can be a valuable life skill. This can help the child to learn patience and gives them a way to catch something if, by chance, something were to happen, and they were left on their own.
Basic First Aid
In any “ideal” emergency, you would hope that you or your child would have some necessary first aid skills and tools to patch up or brace any mishap that has happened. However, this may not be the case, and you may have to improvise. It is essential to teach your kids to recognize what an emergency is. Teaching your kids to understand the following if there is not an adult around to help:
Is there blood?
Is the person conscious?
Can they walk or stand?
Are they breathing irregularly?
Are they acting strangely?
Talking to them about different scenarios like when they scraped their knee and using a bandaid instead of calling 911 can also help them understand what may be a problematic situation vs. an emergency.
Finding Safe Water
This can keep your child from dehydrated or sick from drinking water that could have harmful things. While some rivers and streams may look clean, you should still learn how to purify your water. Often fresh springs can be safe to drink out of without filtration, but it is better to be safe than sorry and not risk being exposed to harmful bacteria. Teach them when looking for water that animals will flock towards the safest water. Things like lush green vegetation is a sign that you are close to a freshwater source. You can also teach them to watch for bird flight paths in the morning and evening. When looking for water, keep moving, but when you do rest, use your ears to try and help you source out the direction that you may hear running water.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This can help if your child gets lost. Teach your child about landmarks or making landmarks. If your child gets lost, teach them to mark trees to make sure that they are not going in circles, and this can also help them to be found.
All of these skills can be translated later in life into valuable leadership skills. Learning to fend for themselves can teach them independence, problem-solving, and teaches them to take charge. While it is never ideal to be lost in the wilderness by yourself, these skills and others could help keep them safe. These are not the only skills that could keep them safe; check back for another entry to this series.