3 Basic Survival Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child via @carinkilbyclark

3 Basic Survival Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child

The kids and I are total movie buffs… so much so that my youngest {the 8yo boy} was kicked out of his best friend’s house last week for telling them the ending to every movie they watched.

Apparently, he’s all too happy to give you the full rundown of each scene – whether you want him to or not. Ooops.

So, when we first saw the trailers for the new movie San Andreas, there was no doubt that we’d be seeing it opening night. Because, well we just have to. It’s our thing.

And the only thing better than opening night? Seeing it the night before of course. *wink*

Last night as we settled in and the movie began, my thoughts kept jumping to the fact that I don’t know that me or any of my kids are remotely prepared to survive anything near what happens in the movie {a major 9 point something or another earthquake in California that was the worst in recorded history}.

Heck, when we had that little shake in the Washington, DC area back in August 2011 it was an all-out panic-first-what-do-we-do situation.

Anyhow, after the movie I really started to think about the basic survival skills that all children should know. And it’s our job as parents to teach them.

I’m sure there are many other important survival skills that our kids need to have, and they learn many things in school or in extracurricular programs, but these are my top three for parents to make sure their kids know.

3 Basic Survival Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child via @carinkilbyclark

Here are three basic survival skills every parent should teach their child:

  1. How to use a landline phone: It’s surprising to me that many children don’t even know what a landline phone is. In a world ruled by cellular phones where many children let their fingers do the talking, we need to make sure they know what a landline is and how to use it. It’s also important that parents even have a landline in the first place. I know many people have opted to give theirs up and just have cells instead, but I really think that’s a mistake. It’s important that our kids know that if the power is cut and cell towers are down, a landline phone can still get the job done.
  2. How to swim: As a water baby who grew up swimming in my grandparent’s pool every weekend, it’s amazing to me how many people are unable to swim. I’m not talking swim team first place or anything but just basic wade in the water, get from one side to the other skills. I know there are many different reasons why some choose to stay away from the water {and there’s no judgment whatsoever}, but I do think it’s important to at least try to introduce your child to swimming and make sure that they have some basic water skills. You never know when it could come in handy.
  3. What to eat: Every time you see a disaster movie or show, there are people looting – stealing TV’s and what not {which makes no sense because if there’s no electricity how in the world are you planning to watch tv?}. But what is not often addressed in these theatrical presentations is what you need to eat in order to survive. Like, the fact that your body can make it without food for about three weeks, but water is a must no matter what.

Obviously this short list is nowhere near inclusive, but it’s a start. I’m no doomsday prepper, but I do want my kids to know basic skills that will help them survive in case of a disaster.

Also important are things like establishing a safe word {so if you have to send someone to get your child they know it’s ok because that person knows the word} and having a family meeting place should something happen while you’re apart, your child will know where to go.

It’s not something I like to think about often, but San Andreas was a great reminder that it’s important to equip our children with some basic survival skills. Just. In. Case.

You may also be interested in…

3 Basic Survival Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child via @carinkilbyclark If you’d like to further explore this topic, you may also be interested in the Total Safety eBook and the Emergency Contingency Plan for Families and Friends worksheets.

Both are available {for free} as instant downloads inside my free membership.

You can check it out and join here.

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to know what basic survival skills you think all parents should teach their child. Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Comments 64

  1. All three of these are so important. We have been working on all three with the grandchildren. My son is also into survival skills in case of disaster. He has been teaching the children these skills also

  2. This is a pretty good list. I think every family needs to have a list of emergency numbers in a prominent place. In an emergency the pre-programmed phone numbers in a cell phone might not cut it.

  3. I agree with all of these! It is important to know basic skills. Think about it our Grandparents were often walking to school alone by 6. Yes, times have changed, but their capabilities should still be taught in the event they HAVE to.

  4. I totally agree with number 2. It amazes me how many people cannot swim. I think everyone should learn how to at least swim enough to get to land if necessary. Excellent advice.

  5. I think the three most important things every child should know is their phone number, address, and full name! Also calling 911!!!

  6. Thanks for sharing your 3 basic skills for survival that children should be taught. Those are the basic things every child should know in the event of a catastrophe. I also made sure my son knew his full name, both of his parents’ full names, addresses and phone numbers. I taught our neighbor’s children their last names, their address and phone number because they were 5 and 6 and I took all 3 of our kids to school every day, and she picked them up. She was furious with me for teaching them their home phone number and address.

  7. I agree with the swimming and eating, not sure about the landline, we don’t even have a landline! It’s not worth the extra cost when we already have cell phones. I’ve had a cell for over 4 years and never had an issue with a cell tower going down and if the power is out, usually I have enough battery power till it comes back on.

    But if a kid had to use a land line, I’m sure someone will have to help them, not to many land line phones are available, you normally have to ask someone to use theirs (stores, library, school), so they can teach them.

  8. There are so many things that kids aren’t taught today. My son is 25 now, and while I am not a prepper or a survivalist, I taught my son what to do when some type of disaster happens. If we ever lose electricity for any length of time, most people don’t know how to survive. We have lost a lot of the skills my parents and grandparents used, such as breadmaking, canning and preparing other foods that most people buy in the grocery store. Kids now watch movies or tv in cars when travelling. We played games and did other things in the car to occupy ourselves. I guess nothing has changed when it comes to kids asking if we are there yet. Thankfully some things never change.

  9. I agree with all three of these tips. I really need to work with my son on what to eat in an emergency situation though,

  10. I agree with the first two items…How to use a landline, and How to swim! The third and fourth most important information to know is: 1. Your complete address and phone number, and 2. How and when to call 911!!! These are THE most important factors in any child rearing situation!

  11. Yes! It really amazes me how many 4- 7 yr olds we meet that can not swim. It is so important! And what to eat. Teaching them about healthy food choices while they are young will help them through out life!

  12. We got rid of our land line years ago, but you make a good point that kids should at least no how to use one. I never learned how to swim and I am adamant about putting my kids in swim class this summer. Not too long ago I was just chatting with a friend that we need an emergency kit at home in case something happens and we can’t get to a store. Like certain can goods, gallons of water, etc. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  13. The “how to use a landline” tip makes me feel old (even though I’m totally not)! But I agree with you, these skills are essential, especially for emergency situations. I encourage every parent to make sure their children can swim. Many accidents occur every year when they could be prevented.

  14. These are excellent and important skills. As a former Verizon employee, I know first hand how important a landline is. I will never give mine up. People need to remember to keep an old fashion phone stashed in a safe place so they can plug it in. So long as there is dial tone, they can at least reach 911.

    What to eat? Tell me about it. Even in my car I keep mon perishable items and water just in case and swimming is high on my list of things for my kids to get lessons in.

  15. My son is learning how to swim this summer because I really believe that is a skill everyone should have! And he knows how to use a landline and his phone number. Food is a difficult thing, but he is obsessed with water, so he should be alright LOL

  16. I just started hearing about this movie so will have to check it out. And I may be even more excited than my kids (well, maybe not LOL), but all three start swim classes this Friday. After attempting to teach them the last couple of summers and not being successful, this is one area I’m not willing to let slide. I taught myself how to swim for the most part, but I don’t want to feel panicked any time my kids and I are around water. And we do still have our landline phone for that reason. Great tips!

  17. I’m so glad my daughter knows how to swim! Now to just get her to drink more water. She used to guzzle the stuff when she was younger, but now it’s like pulling teeth to get her to drink enough. I think I’ll have to show her this post to give her more of a reason to get back to drinking water more regularly!

  18. Learning to swim is really a critical life skill. That’s something that’s priority for our family to ensure that the kids learn how to swim.

  19. These are very good points. My mother always had a land line for those reasons and so do I. I also see so many kids at work with near drowning episodes so swimming is important as is lowering the number of kids with childhood obesity!

  20. You bring up some very good points! I live in earthquake country and am still sorely underprepared for an emergency! I need to change that and soon.

  21. What a wonderful list! I love the addition you stated about teaching children to eat because it is important for them to know Water is important in survival situations and food consumption!

  22. It seems kind of silly that someone would not know how to use a landline phone but I guess your right. These days the majority use mobile. I still don’t own a mobile but I am good. No need for it really.

  23. These are all definitely things that children should be taught! And isn’t it crazy how many kids don’t know how to use a landline? Technology has changed the things we do so much!

  24. I don’t intend to give up the land line. Cell phones are fine but they make us at the mercy of the cell phone carriers. Besides, in a major catastrophe (which San Andreas portrays) it’s hard to know if any will be functional.

    My Dad taught me to swim in primary school and I taught my kids. Teaching them was once of my favorite mommy memories!

  25. We gave up our landline phone… to save money. Sigh… but oh these are really great tips, and such an important topic to discuss!!! I love the idea of a safe word… and yes to swimming!!

    I would definitely include an entire discussion about safety with strangers and how to handle any dangerous circumstances that children may innocently fall into… talks about self protection is a must!

  26. I’ll agree that knowing how to swim is an important life skill that everyone should know. Alas, I don’t know how to swim myself despite the fact I have taken swimming lessons three times when I was younger. 🙂

  27. How to use a landline is something we forget is “new” to our little ones! I can’t believe how fast times are changing.

  28. Our son is already a tween and knows how to use the landline or cellphone. He does know how to swim too. But honestly, I’ve never talked with him about “what to eat” in order to survive. Thanks for this.

  29. these are some great things to remember to teach kiddos! Cracks me up that landline is on the list! So hard to believe kids these days don’t know what a landline really is! I feel old lol…

  30. This is really important! I cannot tell you how many students I have in my class that don’t know their phone numbers. I had to send a letter home with parents to remind them, help their children learn their numbers in case of emergencies. I would hate for an emergency to break out and they not know how to call or who to call.
    Great post!

  31. Great post! I don’t think my daughter actually knows how to use a cell phone, so we are the odd ones out here. I think it is probably important to teach her to use one of those too just in case she needs to make a call on a cell phone. I cannot swim very well, so this is something I need to learn as well. And teaching children how to eat right doesn’t even need to be a survival skill, it can be an everyday skill!

  32. I agree with the second two. I understand the first one. But since natural disasters do not normally happen in my area. It would be waste to have a home home phone line. If I had my way i wouldn’t even have a cellphone. However, since I am disabled my family insists I have something. However, I understand what you mean about a landline. When I live din Florida, when a hurricane came through. All cell lines were down but landlines were still working.

  33. These are very important skills that every child should have. I think it’s very important to teach our children to think for themselves.

  34. I completely agree with the swim one (and of course with the others, too). My husband didn’t learn to swim until he was in his twenties. You never know man! It’s scary to think about – considering i learned at a young age.

  35. We don’t even have a landline in our house, so I have no way to teach my kids. They’re professionals with myself phone, though, so that’s as close as they are going to get 🙂

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