How Old Should A Child Be To Start Prepping?

How old should a child be before they start prepping?  I’m asked this question occasionally and I don’t have a specific age per se but I do have some thoughts on the matter.

Generally I think parents should teach their children to be self sufficient and independent from a very early age.  These are just plain old good life skills that everyone needs to get by.  It’s a plus that preppers are better off when they naturally possess these traits as well.

I’m also of the opinion that learning more specific prepping skills is important as well when it comes to things like camping, fishing, gardening, et cetera…  There are skills and knowledge involved with all of these things that can literally take a lifetime to learn.  Those that start early certainly have a leg up on those who wait until later in life to pick up these hobbies.  Much of what is involved in becoming a good camper, fisherman, or gardener is trial and error.  Learning from your mistakes at an early age is much easier than as an adult in a possible do-or-die situation.

There are other skills like cooking, carpentry and other trades that become more appropriate as a child gets a little older.  I’m all for early learning but we don’t need the house burned down or any missing fingers from saws or hammers…

Which brings us to the question of firearms.  When I was a kid the rule in my house was I was allowed to handle firearms with adult supervision once I was 10.  I had to take a safety class first of course.  When I turned 12 I was legally eligible to get a state firearms i.d. card and I got my very own BB gun that I was allowed to roam the woods behind our house with plinking cans and chasing squirrels.  In my family today I follow a similar standard.  I know many will say that they are in favor of teaching kids to use firearms at a much younger age and to that I say, to each his own as long as you’re safe.

While I just gave a lengthy answer to the question of How old a child should be before they start prepping, I didn’t address the point I really want to harp on here.  And it’s my blog so I’ll harp all I want.  That point is, while I just explained when I would start teaching a child the skills needed to be a good prepper I never talked about alerting the child to the realities of Why we need to prep.

Beginning prepping for a child isn’t that much different than joining the Boy Scouts or 4H.  What’s the Boy Scout’s motto?  Always Be Prepared.  Yes, that’s what I’m talking about.  However, sitting a child down and talking about what happens when the SHTF or TEOTWAWKI is a different thing altogether.  In my opinion there’s absolutely no reason to scare a child by filling their head with scary possibilities for the future.  I see this all the time on that horrible show Doomsday Preppers, which I still watch even though I can hardly stand it.  Every week there are parents cramming five year olds into hazmat suits while the kids barely hold back tears.  Pathetic.

So, while I believe prepping should be almost automatic and start from a very early age I also believe the reasons behind it can be held back until a person is old enough to handle the realities.

~ Butch

2 Responses to How Old Should A Child Be To Start Prepping?

  1. I think you are right on. I will say that I still do fire drills with my children, I do home invasion drill with my children, and we live in Florida so they know hurricanes are a possibility so they know we need to be ready. These are not hazmat suits but are just slightly lower on the same scale. It is how you approach some of the ideas they need to be prepared for. But, I don’t go in the SHTF stuff for sure.

  2. I agree that very young children do not need to know what they are being prepared for. I taught my children to be independent from an extremely early age. From the time they could move, if they bumped themselves (not a real injury, just a boo-boo) I never jumped up and ran to them. I told them, “Come over here and I will kiss it better.” Mom was always there, but it took effort on their part. As adults they are all very independent and well prepared. Similar on guns. Since we didn’t have the luxury of a free place to “plunk away” like I did as a kid, our son had to get his merit badge in Boy Scouts in guns before he could have a gun. Then I got him a .22 because I wanted to make sure he never treated it as a toy.