Prepping with Kids

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For some of us, being prepared for the possibility of a disaster striking means having baby essentials in mind on top of everything else. If you have little ones or are expecting to have any in the near future, it’s important to think of what you’ll need for that precious little one as well.

Preparing yourself and your family for a more self-reliant lifestyle is easiest if you take it one step at a time. Becoming prepared isn’t something that can be learned overnight, nor will you be able to have long term food storage, and learn all of the prepping skills necessary in a short time frame. You need to look at becoming prepared as a lifestyle, and not something that can be done quickly.

So if you are like many preppers, and people who are embracing a more self-reliant lifestyle, one of the first areas you should focus on is the needs of your family.

Adults and older children can help a lot with this type of lifestyle. But if your family has younger children or babies, there are some special considerations that will need to go into every aspect of preparing, and knowing what you will need.

Prepping is one thing, but as soon as you throw kids into the mix, it gets serious. By that I mean if you forget the crayons and coloring books, your bug-out shelter is going to be a lot louder than usual.

Prepping for any situation is about more than just having all the necessary supplies; it’s about preparedness. You need to be ready for any and all scenarios, including those that may seem grim.

First of all, if you are currently expecting, or think that pregnancy could be a possibility in the near future, I would highly recommend you adding some basic birthing supplies to your emergency checklist. If for whatever reason (and there are any number of them!), you are unable to make it to a hospital when labor begins, it is incredibly important to know how to deliver a baby unassisted.

Prepping is stressful, even for you. As a parent, you’ll want to make the experience as enjoyable for your children as possible. Don’t turn prepping into a chore or homework assignment, make it fun for them. Furthermore, you’ll get a lot more done as a family if they enjoy doing it.

One of the most difficult aspects of preparing your survival kit is providing an adequate amount of water for everyone in your party, along with some purification methods to employ later on. For breastfed infants, preppers have the benefit of not worrying too much about additional drinking water. The water provided in breast milk is often sufficient for hydration purposes, even in particularly hot and arid climates.

Keep in mind that most nutritionists recommend breastfeeding as the most healthy food source for children, especially for the first six months and leading into their second year. Stress and malnourishment do not significantly affect milk production, so consider this in your plan if it is an option. When infants are fed with formula or human milk substitutes, it’s crucial to pack in a little extra water in order to keep their bodies hydrated and their kidneys healthy, since substitutes contain more minerals and salt.

Avoid giving them more than 2-4 ounces depending on their body weight, since they’re prone to water intoxication. That being said, never consider replacing the formula with water if it is accidentally left behind or runs out. While drinking one’s fill now and then to stave off hunger can work for adults, it should never be done with children. Evaporated milk is the much better substitute for emergency situations since regular milk can also easily make them ill.

If your child is capable of eating solid foods, water poses much less of a risk, though excessive water intake to compensate for hunger pangs isn’t advisable. Try to provide them with milder foods, such as unsalted trail mixes, dried cereal, and dehydrated fruits/fruit leather.

Peanut butter is a favorite among children, and it comes loaded with protein and is dense enough to provide staying power to make sure that your resources last as long as necessary. Avoid anything with unnecessary salts to avoid wasting water. If survival bars are part of your rations, look into lower-calorie, more palatable items for children.

If you have children, you know they can be picky eaters. Keep this in mind when you are stockpiling your food. Have easily prepared food items that your picky eaters like. Yes, they may not be the most nutritious food items, but if your 6-year-old loves spaghetti-o’s stock up on them.

You can use it as a treat, and once in a while dinner or lunch option. Stock up on the necessary ingredients to make bread, and have your children help you. Just like you, they will take pride in preparing meals, or portions of, for your family.

If you are the parents of babies then you need to make sure you have a good stock of vitamins for your baby as well as good options for nutrition. Having a stockpile of baby formula is a great idea. Not only can this stuff last for a really long time but it can be a life saver in the event that a breastfeeding mother is separated from her small child. Again, erring on the side of caution is the way to go. Even if you breastfeed, buy some powdered formula just in case. Vitamins and formula are as important to your baby as water is. Make sure you have it.

The general rule of thumb for clothing is that it should remain fine for up to three days without washing, and this applies for children as well; unless, of course, your child still requires diapers. Packing disposable diapers is absolutely implausible when conserving space in your bug-out bag for other resources, so re-washable cloth diapers are a necessity in your planning.

Keeping three cloth diapers per child (with sealable baggies and extra detergent to hand wash them when a water source is available) is a recommendable minimum. Other than clothing and diapers, remember to bring some kind of light water-resistant covering and a warm blanket. It might benefit your party to bring along a collapsible hands-free baby carrier that you can either wear or carry along.

Considering the effects that the stress of an emergency can give to pregnant women, it is very important to plan for emergency child delivery when pregnant members are part of your group. Intense levels of stress can significantly increase the likelihood of a premature birth. For the best practices on delivering children when medical professionals or midwives aren’t available to help you, refer to this guide.

A happy baby makes a happy parent. This can be something simple, like their favorite blanket or book. If you have an infant and they like pacifiers, have a couple kept away. In stressful times, comfort items can help sooth a cranky baby or three-year-old. It is important to keep the needs of your babies in mind when you are preparing for anything.

During particularly stressful moments, ear muffs or earphones can help in keeping them calm. Coloring books, small games, or anything else that they might be fond of can be a good help in reducing their stress levels. It can be difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy and security when an emergency strikes, but maintaining a feeling of routine can go a long way in providing the stability that very young children desperately need.

The final item for this list is major. They are super important. The baby carrier. How many times have you been stuck holding a baby without a proper place to lay them down? The kids get heavy after a while and the last thing you want to do is to lug a baby through a wilderness setting, or anywhere else for that matter, without a carrier. Take the time to invest in a carrier that holds the baby on your chest or on your back.

In addition to planning for the resources and contingencies that are necessary for caring for a child during crises, it might help to provide young one’s ways to reduce their stress and distract themselves if they are incapable of resource-gathering or aiding your group in other ways. In terms of packing, try to include something compact and of sentimental worth from their parents or caregivers for them to lean on when they need comforts, such as a keepsake or a piece of clothing.

During your preparation, your family is your biggest concern. Taking the extra step to ensure you are ready to handle the children will pay off in the long run. It’s very important for you to be aware that you will have small kids with you if the time comes. Follow these tips and tricks to ensure it’s an easier process.