Prepping your family – How to get started with emergency preparedness

Disaster Damage

The greatest challenge I’ve faced as a prepper has been how to include my wife and four kids in my preparation efforts.  My wife and 9-year-old daughter are not particularly interested and my 3-year-old–well, he’s 3.  On the other hand, my 11 and 10-year old boys are a bit more interested, but have other interests, too.

When I talk about preparation efforts, I don’t mean showing up in the middle of the night with a metal garbage can screaming, “What do you do?”, to improve your family’s reaction time. That would not only be traumatizing but would discourage your wife from any further “prep’ talk”.  Understand it’s not about you and your effort to prepare your family. It’s a team effort and without everyone’s buy-in, it will end in frustration.

First, explain to your wife why you’re interested in the subject of prepping and keep it as general as possible (i.e., natural disasters, economic uncertainties, and man-made accidents).  Reassure her that the investment can always be there to help the family in case of a job loss.  In tight financial times, the issue of money can be a powerful obstacle; so, have an idea of how much it will cost the family per month before going to your wife to discuss partnering with her in this endeavor.  For example, I approached my wife and stated I would like to be able to pick up some food items every payday in the amount of $20.  This has been used to pick up 10 boxes of pasta and 10 cans of tomato sauce; also, 16 one-pound bags of beans; or, 40 50-cent cans of vegetables.  You would be surprised what you can build up in your food stash in a few months.

I know there’s a lot more to prepping, but a family of six requires a lot of food over a long period of time; so, it’s a good place to start.  (The building of a small, monthly prep’ savings for “go bags” and water purification is a later step.)  The point is that you want your wife onboard as a partner in the effort–not as a recruit.  Stress that you need her help and ASK her if she would come alongside in this endeavor.

Remember:  “Tellin’ ain’t sellin’.”

family with bug out bagsNext, explain to the kids why you and Mom are working together to prepare the family.  Avoid the scary details and focus on even more general reasons, such as “just in case we have to leave the house for a few days”.  Include the children by assigning them a task based on what they might seem good at. For example, I have given one of my kids the task of “medic to take care of anyone who needs help” (i.e., first aid); the other kid, the task of “navigator to help us get to where we need to go” (i.e., reading a compass and map); the next kid, the task of “logistician and cook who helps keep an inventory of all the things we need in our ‘go bags’ as well as ensures we have the food we’ll need”; last, the 3-year-old gets to walk around with his tiny “go bag” and dig out all of the contents while we work together.

For the kids who have a task, work with them and encourage them to share their newfound skills with each other.  After they become comfortable with their assignments, change who has what tasks.  This doubles their skillsets and keeps it from becoming monotonous.  You will be surprised at how enthusiastic kids are to learn new things they can actually apply to everyday life.

Lately, I have even included the kids in a simple series of exercises at least four nights a week.  I explained that it is to ensure if we have to carry our “go bags”, we are strong enough to do so.  This also helps to give them a sense of inclusion and empowerment, while building their strength.  Surprisingly, the kids are more than eager to participate.   By the way, don’t treat the exercises like a boot camp if you don’t want to turn them off to the idea of any more prep’ talk.  Everyone needs to be in shape.  Remember:  If the wife and kids cannot “go” when it’s time, guess who’s going to have to carry them in addition to the “go bag” when it comes time?

Prepping can be a challenging subject to put towards your family.  Nevertheless, if you approach your wife and kids with an excitement to learn practical life skills and to build up a cost-effective, survival stash, you will reap the rewards of seeing a talented and motivated team that not only works well together when it is needed but in everyday life as well.

Clint is from Bossier City, Louisiana, and is currently a technical writer for a major contractor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He is a military veteran of 9 years and has been an avid prepper for the past three years.  His interest in prepping  came about as a result of the housing crash of 2008 as well as his concerns of the questionable laws being passed since 9/11.  He is always looking for more information to improve his prepping skills as well as for some friendly individuals interested in building a community that goes beyond “online”.

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  1. Re: the article. A friend of mind, a school teacher, told me last year he had a few students, who’s job every Sat was to inventory the supplies in the basement (the supplies took up part of the basement) regarding items near their expiration date. Those items were moved to the front and the inventory was presented to the parents of what was stored. That was their Saturday chore. No excuses. That was the parents’ way of getting the kids onboard with the program. The family, incidently, was not into survivalism or prepping. It was simply storage of supplies for the long term.

  2. While there are warning signals everywhere,it doesn’t mean that the sky will fall tomorrow, or does it? However,having said that, we are preparing for the what if’s. I remember “duck and cover” and the Cuban missile crises of the 60’s. Mom,Dad and most adults of that time talked in hushed silence about what was going on and they did not speak about nuclear weapons or how bad things really were. Our neighbors built bomb shelter’s an stocked food and other supplies. We lived in a different time and we could trust our government and I can remember hearing from my parents that our government would protect us and let nothing happen to our country. I wish I could say that today some 50 years later. I’m still a proud American and love my country,however it appears that things are going from bad to worst. So just in case buy as much food as you can gather up, and the things you’ll need to go camping and hunting.Have them at hand and in good working order. You will not have time to go running here and there to buy this and that. Read and use common sense. Remember that the Scout motto is a good one to remember” Be prepared”. You can buy a Boy scout handbook and that will give you some useful information. Take care.God Bless. Thanks for letting me have my say. Southern Patriot

  3. Hi, I’m 15 and have been storing MRE’s away for almost ayear for my father and I. I’ve been following subjects like (HAARP – illuminati- FEMA – New World Order) and my life doesn’t look good for the future. We’ve never been camping, never the time. I read in an artical here about turning off the power and live in the dark like you were in the woods. use the BBq as a stove. I don’t know if bottled water have an experation date or not, you wouldn’t think so being water. I don’t know of anything else that one needs for 2 to survive and for how long.Need help thankyou Mesha15

  4. Your little actical at the begining.Not meaning to scare you, WELL it’s good to scare people into whats coming.Look at all the plastic coffin liners in AZ. 500,000 of them. 3 bodies can fit in one.Their are even ones for kids. Google or youtube Fema camps. There are 54 HAARP stations around the US right now mainly in the upper / Northern parts of the US. Illuminati’s plan is to rid the earth of 300 million people because 200 million are easyer to control. How do you control people. Freeze their bank accounts / cut off all food sources / water / medical. the ones that don’t wish to know. I feel sorry for those. after the fall of the dollar. Marshal law will go into effect / dividing the states into 3 sections / Yellow / Red / blue/.. One thing to watch. Mail boxes look on your mail box..if you see a little colored dot. this lets the government know what color you will belong to when marshal law takes effect. It has already been happening. people have been finding different color dots on their mailboxes and asking the mail carrier what they are for..The only answer you’ll get is / mail will be delivered by color indicators. like sections. Yellow / red/ blue/. The vacines / swine flu..this shot has more of the swine flu in it. Making the body harder to rid of. So what happens. People die scary thought huh..Chips in phones. HAARP/ noises that you can’t hear but are their..background effects..Cell phone GPS every one that owns a cell phone can be tracked..even after marshal law takes effect. If your running, and turn on your cell phone you are being tracked / Earthquakes ( Tesla earthquake machine is working and has been redisigned to work better / check it out as your home work on it. Surviving the elliments is everything. This site is like no other that I have searched out. I’m glad I found it. I would post more. But after awhile people get bored. and don’t wish to read it. Thankyou for all your info – advice & tips to surviving these harsh and up coming events in the world..Mesha15

    • Actually, the colored dots represent which type of paper deliveries are being made to each box. Some get partial deliveries, some get full deliveries, and some get different kinds on certain days… Newspaper deliveries! It helps the carriers to know what to put where! All the rest I agree with you on, though…

    • here there are 500,000 plastic coffin liners with lids stored but when asked about them they all was moved to 1 of the 3 places they keep them,that,s when i started to put up some (THINGS).

  5. It took me quite awhile to get my family on board with prepping. Little by little, through conversation and discussion on politics,world affairs, introducing them to websites like this one, they began to think along a whole new paradigm of not just what if, but very possible and somethings probable.My wife is mainly responsible for food and storage, my seventeen year old son is responsible for our firearms.We all have a semi-auto handgun, defensive shotgun, and an AR type rifle and we all shoot together at our local gun club twice a month. My sixteen year old, who God gifted with very high intelligence, is responsible for communications and CCTV for security. I am working on defensively hardening our house and property, and working on medical preps as I am a Registered Nurse of 27 years experience. Doesn’t sound too bad as far as prepping, right? Well here’s the caveat, we live in an old, densely populated, urban city on the east coast of about 100,000 people,areas where there are gangs, drugs and the violence that goes with it. Last year there was thirteen murders that involved drugs or illegal immigrants, there is a large number of the population that are dependent on the government for everything from foodstamps to housing, speaking of which there has been over 2000 homes foreclosed on. City hall is incompetent and corrupt, nobody votes or gets involved in the community (unless of course there’s some king of hand out) and I can tell you when the shtf these very same people are going to be the first to start looting and rioting, but many of them will not last too long because they don’t know anymore than the life of dependency and entitlement.The gangs will be a very real danger, so bug out now you may say, but this is our home and we together as a family have decided that we will stay and fight, and so we continue to prepare and pray that somehow it all does not come falling down. This is a great website, thank you for all this site does and God Bless all, keep on keepin on until the end.

  6. As a single parent, I have begun to put some extra food and general supplies away, nothing major, because I do not have an endless supply of money. I just have a few of the white buckets, with some rice and beans, etc. My kids call them my ‘crazy buckets’ and mainly look at me a bit strange. But with no extended family, no husband, my dad has passed away, and no adult male relatives, I am doing what I can. It is not much, but the worst feeling in the world for me, as a mother, is to feel helpless. I am just trying to combat that feeling and any advice from men or women who can advise me, would be welcomed.

    • I’m in Ireland I started preping a few years ago with any over time money i got in work, started getting my kids into it slowly by doing fire drills geting my older kids to use fire extinguishers to put out small controlled fires. We would play a game of lights out older kids against each other younger 2 against each other see who could change the batteries in a flashlight the quickest blindfolded. Camping and hiking trips every chance we get to show them different ways to start fires purify water build shelters. But where my preping has really helped me out was last year I was out of work injuried for 4 months money was tight but not only that I was very restricted with movement so unable to do as much shopping as needed thankfully I had more than enough, which just shows you don’t need a major disaster or SHTF to need your preps

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