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Children Prepping for an Apocalypse or Natural Disaster

Updated on November 5, 2015
LongTimeMother profile image

LTM's small farm is completely off the grid. Her family uses solar and alternative power sources for lighting, cooking, animal fencing, etc.

When a Child Wants Prepping Supplies

If your teenager or pre-teen wants to spend money on prepping supplies, don't over-react. There's many other things to be more concerned about a child spending money on.

Help a child with seemingly-obsessive concerns about disasters and catastrophes put their concerns into perspective.

  • Discuss the issues.
  • Listen to what your child says.
  • Acknowledge that we don't know what the future might hold.
  • Credit your child with being open-minded and prepared for events that may or may not happen.
  • You can be supportive without being paranoid.

If prepping for an apocalypse is your child's current passion, it would be a mistake to disregard it. Make sure you include at least a couple of prepping-related gifts among other birthday and Christmas gifts.

Gifts for Teenage Preppers

There's a bunch of really good gifts you can give to teenagers currently obsessed with prepping.

  • Tent
  • Camping Supplies
  • Books about self-sufficiency
  • All kinds of other reference books. (Kids know books will be important if the internet goes down.)
  • Vegetable seeds and space in the garden to grow them
  • First-aid training course (to learn about applying bandages, administering CPR etc)
  • First-aid kit
  • Solar-powered flashlight
  • Dynamo flashlight

Perhaps the greatest gift you can give a teen prepper is your time and supportive interest.

  • If you've never grown vegetables before, learn with your child
  • Attend the first-aid course together
  • Go camping together (but don't 'take over' the important tasks)
  • Find opportunities for your child to use their flashlight, instead of always using your bigger mainstream battery-powered one.

None of these flashlights need batteries. They are powered by solar and/or dynamo action. Great gifts for children and teens who express an interest in prepping.
None of these flashlights need batteries. They are powered by solar and/or dynamo action. Great gifts for children and teens who express an interest in prepping. | Source

Teen Preppers Don't Need Guns

Remember, the main aim of any prepper should be to survive a disaster or catastrophe by being self-sufficient. This requires developing a range of skills. Help your child identify and develop skills that will make a difference if life as we know it changes.

A gun is not a gift for a teenager. Remind your child they'll get a faster, easier meal from vegetables they grow, instead of waiting for a rabbit to run past. Not only do they have to shoot it, but they then have to clean it and cook it before they can eat it.

In a genuine catastrophe, the prepper with a good garden supplying fresh food (and the ability to spot edible plants) will undoubtedly survive longer than a starving hunter with a gun but no animals, no fire, or lacking the skills and stamina to properly clean and cook the animals they shoot.

A successful prepper should be able to survive without a gun. With the right skills and prepping tools, there's no need to become involved in conflict.

Encourage your child to keep their head down, stay away from riots and public clashes, fly under the radar ... and survive.

Peaceful Preppers

Anyone who is seriously interested in surviving apocalyptic events, including teenagers who fear for their future, should be encouraged to become 'peaceful preppers'.

Instead of prepping for war and carnage, prepare for temporary inconvenience (due to natural disasters) or economic collapse.

  • Be able to sleep safe and warm without your bed
  • Be able to eat without access to a kitchen
  • Learn to identify edible foods ... and grow them
  • Know how to stay dry during rain outdoors
  • Be able to light your way in the night
  • Confidently find (and collect) safe water to drink
  • Have tools to recharge your phone etc without access to the electricity grid.

These are the basic survival skills of a peaceful prepper.

Disasters on TV News

You can't argue with the television news. Children who are exposed to news footage of chaos and mayhem following natural disasters or other catastrophes have every right to wonder if they may one day be caught up in a similar disaster.

And, sadly, they might be right.

It might not be during your lifetime, but your kids are likely to outlive you. What's wrong with them developing skills (and therefore confidence) to meet the challenges of life head on?

Television news reflects the issues and problems experienced by others. Intelligent children can make the link between the lives of others, and their own. It makes perfectly good sense for them to want to be prepared and equipped to survive.

Children and Teenagers Prepping

Help your children and teenagers identify the most useful items for successful prepping.

  • If you live in a flood-prone area, an inflatable raft is probably a very good item to have on hand.
  • If you live in tornado territory and may be forced to take refuge in an underground bunker, what will you need?
  • A sleeping bag and inflatable bed are incredibly useful for anyone who may need to spend a night sleeping on the floor, irrespective of whether or not they risk losing their home.
  • Teaching small pets to be confined in a carry bag or box is a good idea for kids who fear leaving little fluffy behind if ever faced with forced evacuation.
  • Wherever you live, kids should learn how to grow edible and medicinal plants they might need one day.

Help your children see that some prepping activities have more relevance to your family's environment and situation than others.

Useful Prepping Skills for Children and Teens

The best prepping skills are life skills. If your child, pre-teen or teenager is committed to prepping in anticipation of an unexpected catastrophe, whether it be man-made or natural, this is a perfect opportunity to teach life skills.

Instead of hitting the panic button and rushing your child off to therapy for their 'unnatural' fear of an apocalyptic event, try and be constructive in your advice.

Here's a range of important life skills you should encourage your young prepper to develop.

  • Swimming
  • Cooking
  • Organic gardening
  • Camping
  • Tying knots (for a range of applications)
  • Map reading (The old-fashioned way.)

Most parents are looking for ways to shift their kids away from computers and technology. If your child wants to start prepping, be happy they're likely to spend more time outdoors.

Outdoor Lifestyle

As your child grows older, here's some other interesting activities they might choose to pursue:

  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Bushwalking
  • Rock climbing
  • Bushcraft
  • Abseiling

Countless hobbies and interests spring from an interest in prepping and survival. By the time your kids are older teenagers or young adults, they may choose to actively participate in healthy outdoor lifestyle activities.

With a fit, healthy body the whole process of growing up becomes a little easier.

While some of these sports like rock climbing and abseiling may seem 'risky' at first glance, it is important to remember that the vast majority of teenagers pass through a stage of risk taking. For some that means drugs and self-harm.

Other kids, including one of mine, choose to get their thrills from rock climbing with experienced rock climbers with all the safety devices in place. Yes, she's dangled from cliff faces on occasion, but she mainly participates at indoor venues for exercise and fun after work.

An outdoor lifestyle and passion is, in my opinion, much healthier for young people than trips to the pub or nightclubs.

Not All Preppers are Doomsday Preppers

We've all heard about doomsday preppers who bury themselves in the side of a mountain or in a bunker beneath their garage. Some people spend an extraordinary amount of time and money storing edible goods in cans, bottles and heat-sealed packages. They hide away in anticipation of an apocalyptic disaster.

Personally I believe they are far more likely to encounter the use-by date on their stored goods before they have any reason to start eating them.

Doomsday preppers tend to make their lives unnecessarily complicated and isolated. Why build walls and peepholes to protect your food store?

Just plant carrots between the roses in your garden. Most marauding mobs in search of food to steal will walk right past your carrot tops.

Desperados will be floundering around as they try to find food, looking for the stash of a doomsday prepper to plunder, and frustrated by their inability to cope.

Meanwhile, your clever kid will be sitting under a tree watching the drama unfold, safe in the knowledge your family won't starve. If your child keeps their private supply of nutrients stored in the soil exactly where nature intended, they'll have a lot less to worry about if ever they are caught in civil unrest over food supplies.

Their biggest challenge will be to resist the temptation to laugh out loud and draw attention to themselves when chomping on fresh parsley and retrieving fresh root vegetables from hiding spots among the flowers and bushes.

Encourage your children to understand not all preppers are extreme doomsday preppers in the way they see on tv. They can be prepared for catastrophic events without being totally consumed by the process.

Who knows this plant is edible? A clever prepper includes these in their garden, confident they won't be stolen by desperate thieves if their local food supply is interrupted. Leaves and flowers can be eaten, plus they provide health benefits.
Who knows this plant is edible? A clever prepper includes these in their garden, confident they won't be stolen by desperate thieves if their local food supply is interrupted. Leaves and flowers can be eaten, plus they provide health benefits. | Source

Life Continues for Teen Preppers

Perspective is a wonderful tool. With the ability to look back and apply hindsight, having a child with a seemingly unnatural interest in prepping for catastrophes will no doubt be a positive experience.

Like all teenagers, yours will soon enough be ready to leave home and follow their own life path. University, travel, job opportunities, a love interest. Something will inspire them to pack up and move on when they become young adults.

When that day comes, you can thank your lucky stars they spent a year or two devoted to prepping and learning valuable life skills.

  • Unlike most kids at university, they'll know how to cook
  • Unlike many of their peers, they'll enjoy the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Your child won't be forced to rely on pizza and fast foods
  • Better for their health!
  • They'll be strong swimmers, so you won't have to worry about them going to the beach with friends
  • Equipped with camping and map reading skills, you won't have to stress when they go back-packing
  • Armed with a solar/dynamo torch or flashlight, your child will never be lost in the dark
  • With first-aid knowledge, your child will be able to help others in need ... and be able to bandage and treat most of their own injuries.

Yes, life will continue for your teenage prepper, and they'll be well prepared to cope with it.

And if the day ever should come when your child is faced with some kind of man-made or natural disaster (no matter how big or small it might be), you can breath a sigh of relief. You'll be pleased you didn't, in a moment of panic, stop your child from prepping for that unseen catastrophe they must have had an early premonition about.

© 2015 LongTimeMother


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    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      I'm with you, cygnetbrown. With food growing in your garden, you'll be way ahead of folk who rely on shooting deer for their dinner.

      You'll collect your meal faster, clean it faster, cook it faster ... and you won't have to worry about wasting any when you don't have power to keep the freezer working. lol. You'll be quietly walking through your garden with a basket, while others are stressing about using precious fuel in their trucks and drawing attention to themselves (in so many ways) while they try to get food to their kitchens. :)

      That 9-year-old was lucky to have you as a babysitter!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 

      5 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      You are so right! There are many ways that we need to prepare for that are not a Zombie Apocalypse! Years ago when I was baby sitting, I was talking with the oldest girl (she was 9 I think) and we discussed what we should do if there was a fire in the house. Two years later, she was in a house fire because she did what we discussed. She was prepared for a fire because someone sat down with her and discussed how to be prepared.

      I talk all the time with people around here who say that if an apocalypse occurs they are going to take their guns and go shoot deer. My comment to that is "How long do you think that the deer will hold out, and how will you keep someone else from thinking that you're a deer? I would much rather depend on the pretty sweet potato vines in my flower garden than I would counting on not being shot by another overzealous hungry hunter!

    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      It makes perfectly good sense to have disaster bags packed if you live in hurricane territory. If you need to leave in a hurry, it is best to be ready.

      Our children live in the same world we do ... which is why we should equip them with the skills and confidence to cope with unexpected disaster situations. Confidence can make the world of difference. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Good article on this concern for parents. Living in South Florida we have disaster bags packed in case of hurricanes. It is not a bad idea to know what helps during these survival situations.

    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      lol. If the day comes when your daughter really needs to cook something, I'm sure she'll get her head around it. Meanwhile I guess she's too busy with all her exciting activities. Sounds like she'd be working up an appetite though. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      In this changing world, we just don't know the information that kids and teens are absorbing and processing. My teen daughter is good at kayaking, rock climbing, engineering, and first aid but can't cook a lick. Sharing this hub.

    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      Your father equipped you with great skills aviannovice, and I'm guessing you had quality time together while he taught them to you. Past generations were far more capable of being self-sufficient in a crisis situation than most people today.

      I see great merit in encouraging children to develop skills.

    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      Jackie, I actually agree the crazy ones are the ones who believe they'll always have access to supermarkets with food and fresh water when and where they want it. Your son will be among those who don't need to panic if life presents an unexpected challenge.

    • LongTimeMother profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      Peeples, if your son starts growing vegetables he'll no doubt want to eat them. Encourage him to grow peas and carrots etc that can be eaten without the hassle of cooking. Pick them, wash them, eat them. No need to peel the carrots. Just rub off the roots and start eating. He'll get to experience what real food tastes like. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      My father had been a boy scout as a youth, but my family couldn't afford to get me involved in scouting. So, he taught me how to read a compass, start a fire, and other basic necessities of life. Doomsday stuff? It could have been, but this are the skills that are with me to this day. I also know how to raise veggies, cook from scratch, and other sensible necessities. It is always better to be safe than sorry, for if you need the skills, you have them.

    • Edithe Estelle profile image

      Elizabeth Downing 

      5 years ago from Milky Way, Galaxy

      This is great and I like that you mention ways to incorporate prepping into the regular routine, and even make it fun. Children often see more than we want them to, even if we're careful in our own homes we never know what they may see at a friends house. Watching the news, filled with mass shootings and natural disasters is enough to make adults anxious, let alone a child. Feeling empowered and prepared can alleviate some of that.

      I was raised with basic prepping like having flashlights and batteries, canned goods, water and matches, things like that. It always amazes me when there's news of a snowstorm and I go to the grocery store, usually for something simple like ice-cream, and see the shelves cleared of bread and milk and people loading their carts. As I walk out empty-handed with no intentions of waiting on those lines I always think to myself, "People needed an impending snowstorm to have food at home?"

      Lastly, I have a sibling in the military who keeps a few boxes of MRE's around. They may not taste fantastic (some aren't bad though I've had them) or be the healthiest things around but they do provide needed protein and other nutrients, they're easy to carry, self-heatingand aren't easily destroyed by flood or extreme temperatures. If you know someone who lives/works on a military base with access to the commissary those can be added to your survival items.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from the beautiful south

      Great article to get many thinking. My son is not a teenager and has served his country so he knows what he is doing. He has prepared for almost any event and although I may smile about it now and then wondering if he wishes to use his skills; I do a few things myself he has made me think about. Like a bottle filter to drink almost any type water and some claim to even filter nuclear stuff...don't know about that but can't hurt to have one just in case!

      This world really is up against so much anything is possible and maybe the crazy ones are the ones who trust it all to fate. I think about weather disasters too. I don't live where I would ever have to worry about flood thank God but we need to all look around us and see just what we might need in cases of different disasters and if the kids are already into it; so much the better!

    • peeples profile image


      5 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you for the logical and thought out answer. Giving that the child of mine so interested also happens to be the one who typically doesn't go outside I see your point about finally having ways to encourage outdoor activity. Also I got to thinking about it last night. There are teen girls all over the place obsessed with some boy in music or tv, spending their allowance on magazines so they can get pictures of the hollywood boy. Really I think I'd rather my child spend money on things that don't just get stuck to the wall or looked at. You also gave me some great ideas about the veggies, because this is also my child who hates veggies. If he wants to prepare for even the most basic natural disaster when the freezer isn't going to work he will have to get use to eating veggies! :) Thanks for all the useful tips!


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