Accidents, natural disasters, and other emergency situations are realistic disasters that people face every single day. During such incidences, no one is exempted, even children. These young ones are included in the thousands of reports all over the world regarding the devastating outcomes of calamities where there are children missing, badly injured or even found dead. Early in a child’s life, it is important to teach them basic survival skills because you’ll never know what life has in store for them.
Basically, children have different cognitive responses to understand how important survival means compared to adults. According to some survival experts, children have difficultly absorbing the topic of ultimate survival, but with the aid of role playing methods that include basic survival drills; children can process and retain how important survival is. This is applicable for disasters whether man-made or natural ones. When it comes to role playing, make it simple and interactive so that children are able to participate and get fun out of the exercise.
Children do not have the brain structure and ability to sustain complex survival methods and strategies compared to adults. Given the fact that disasters do not affect people based on gender, age and especially the level of intellect, children may have different cognitive understanding and response but they can be taught the basic survival skills.
Here are some ways to teach and train survival lessons for children:
- Stop – When in danger or caught in an emergency scenario, try to incorporate the word stop to children. Stop means taking a deeper breath, staying calm and acknowledging the problem. Try to explain to them that it is impossible to undo the past, but looking forward to the future to survive is what must be thought of.
- Think – Children are commonly dismissed by adults when it comes to thinking on their own especially during stressful situations. However, children have a very wide understanding and imagination when it comes to survival. Try to develop and sharpen those cognitive skills by letting them know what to prevent during stressful situations, which is panic. Do not forget to emphasize to them the phrase “Don’t Panic”, instead think of a better way and act with caution. Panic can imbalance the young minds of children and eventually may lead to possible mistakes and injuries.
- Observe – One of the things that must be taught to children is to observe. Try to give them drills were they can assess and observe options that can enhance survival. This includes equipment, supplies, surroundings and personal capabilities to survive.
- Plan – Children can be taught to plan to survive and prioritize basic needs in dealing with the emergency situation and how to conserve the supplies and equipments wisely. Make sure to insert advice that a plan can be altered along the way and they must have a back-up plan every now and again until the rescue arrives.
You might consider using the abbreviation of the word “STOP” where “S” stand for stop, “T” is for think, “O” is for observe and “P” is for plan. This kind of method is simple yet easy to remember for children when they encounter a stressful scenario.
Knowing and understanding some basic survival skills can help an individual to survive in any emergency scenario even if they are young children.