Dealing With Children in a Survival Situation
Survival can be difficult even at the best of times and can be both psychologically and physically intense; testing you to the limits. This is likely to be magnified even further if you are accompanied by children, as you’ll feel the added responsibility and pressure to get everybody to safety on an even greater level. There are some things you should do, however and some other useful tips that can help to make the situation more bearable.
Explain the Survival Situation Fully to ChildrenThere is little point in trying to conceal the gravity of finding yourselves in an emergency situation when accompanied by children. They will soon pick up on what’s going on. Therefore, you need to be honest about what’s happening, yet try to remain calm at the same time. Offer reassurance that the situation is not impossible to get out of, that together you can work things out and that help or rescue is not going to be too far away.
Whilst you may feel like panicking inside yourself, it’s important to maintain an ‘adult’ impression at the same time as children naturally and often subconsciously, think of adults as people who they can rely on to provide shelter, warmth, food and safety.
Get the Children to Help You SurviveBy coming up with an action plan and enlisting the help of the children, not only will you be able to complete your survival priorities more quickly, but by being occupied, it will take the children’s minds off the worry element of survival. Take an inventory of all your collective belongings and discuss with the children what each item might be used for. Because children have such fertile imaginations, they may even come up with creative ideas that you might not even have thought of yourself. Make sure that they know what each item does and how you are going to use it. Get them to help you erect or find a shelter and get them to gather suitable material for a fire.
Food and Water for SurvivalTell them about the importance of food and water in a survival situation and what the priorities are. Explain the dangers of eating poisonous foods and drinking dirty water and what they should and shouldn’t do with regard to both issues. Then, adults and children should all work as a team in your collection of both food and water provisions and preparing it for consumption.
Keeping Morale Up With ChildrenEncourage a camaraderie and build some time into your survival regime in order to take the children’s minds off the situation by telling funny stories, sharing jokes, having a sing-song and any other general ‘campfire’ games you can come up with.
Listen to What the Children SayJust because you are the adult, you must consider the children as equals when it comes to being ‘team members’. They will want to help and will often come up with ingenious ideas. Encourage them to be open with you and with each other. Discuss their fears and try to allay them but show warmth, empathy and be honest and realistic with them above all else.
Most survival situations do not last too long, perhaps a day or two is a fair average estimate. Therefore, whilst it might be a scary time for all, with determination and a will to work together to succeed, both you and the children should return to safety before too long and will be able to look back on the situation as an incredible adventure that has only made everybody stronger as a result.