Preparing for the Children in a bug out/survival scenario

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Beckie B

As many of us are working on our bug out location, stocking food and water, which we all know takes both time and money. You might be working on living off the grid, solar, wind and water which again is time-consuming and costly, securing guns in case martial law goes into effect, and it seems the list of things grow each time you think about what you will need. In our home, the food and water storage is the work of both of us, the off grid falls on my husband as well as working on securing our safety with guns, gas and wood. My job is securing the future of our grandchildren.

So much has been posted on the above, but I have not read much on the children who will be impacted the most in the worst case scenario. Our grandchildren range from the ages of entering the world in October 2012 to eleven and it is very important to me that life keeps some normalcy for them in changing times. Since nobody knows how long life will be effective, preparing for them is my top priority.

Preparing both our local bug out location and our second, where we will end up and hopefully live out the major portion of our time, takes planning. As some of our grandchildren are not of the age to walk far (a consideration that truly needs to be addressed by all) if the need arises, and ground needs to be covered to reach your location, have you considered how to move them if needed. A bike with a cart in tow is one option if you have the means to get them or build them.

Wagons, sturdy big wheels to handle all terrain is a second option, as I figured it is easier to pull than push a child, and both carts and wagons have capacity to carry more than a child. Remember weight also plays a big role in the walking scenario, and too much will wear a person out. A child, two bug out bags, and blankets, and two adults per one child, as to have the ability to rotate this chore is how I am setting up our departure. I do hope that the truck works and all of this prepping will not be needed, but I rather be prepared in case it is needed.

So now you are in your bug out location, is it child ready? Have you considered how to occupy a child for long durations of time? Some will be lucky enough to still have the ability to go outside and play, others will be home bound. Games and toys are part of a child’s life, and while it is impossible to furnish them with all that most children have now days, I decided to stick to the basics of life.

Coloring books, and puzzle books. Both locations have all of these as well as crayons and markers, which you can get rather cheaply at the locate dollar store. Games like Yatzhee, Uno, Sorry, Life and Monopoly as well as decks of cards (which can provide endless hours of many games) are on hand.

These again can be picked up new or used, but will provide hours of entertainment for children. I have also stocked matchbox cars (gender friendly), small building sets, and have been raiding our grandchildren’s old toys each November and moving them to our bug out locations to provide them both normalcy (it was theirs and it is still here) and allowing them to be a child still.

Books to read and you need to remember expanding knowledge requires new books, workbooks to teach young ones the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic are essential to both their development and a sense of normalcy, and again the dollar store is a great place to achieve this goal. These items can be passed on, if you use them as tools and provide paper and pencils instead of having them write in the book itself, which will save you in the long run. Learning is part of being a child, as well as schooling, and this set time daily will again bring some secure back into their lives.

Now to most important part of being prepared for children, clothing! While most adults do not have to worry much about clothing, as belts will always work on pants that might become too big, or couple of quick stitches work on darting them, children do have a tendency to grow and the need to have clothes to grow into is a must. Pants and shirts can become short, and children will survive, but at one point it just will not fit them. Stores and shopping will not be an option, and while some will be lucky enough to have the ability to sew, others will not.

Another consideration is weather. Will your weather be affected in your area? Stockpiling clothing is something I began two years ago, and I am keeping it to the basics. Underwear, socks, sweat pants and sweat shirts, as well as shorts and t-shirts. I decided that basically I need 4 of each in sizes ranging from 2T to 16/18 (as at 18 they most likely will be wearing adult clothing). Underwear and socks were a main stay for each group as these are essential to everyday living.

In our location I have also added winter coats and snow pants to my stockpile list (and for those up North, now is the time to pick these items up at great savings) as well as hats and gloves. PJ’s were not an option, as children are very happy to sleep in sweatpants in winter. With this knowledge and the fact that children can be rough on clothing, and the need to be able to pass down to the next child, I have also stocked patches and material to mend the clothing if needed as well as buttons and snaps.

With the clothing covered I also had to consider the need of growing feet, so I have stockpiled both snow boots (again a Northern issue) as well as sneakers in each size. In all the above I did not go gender specific, what works for boys usually works for girls, so I keep colors basic. All of these items I bargained shop for and do not spend more than a dollar to three dollars on with the exception of winter clothing, but most of those I have picked up for under ten dollars each.

The last normalcy I wanted to provide for the younger children, was their belief in Christmas, so we have a bin at our bug out location that Santa can still come and leave a toy behind on Christmas, again dollar stores and shopping right after the holidays allowed this to be accomplished and the bin filled for under $50.00 and Christmas will come for many years.

Since our children and grandchildren will hopefully be the ones to reestablish our world, giving them the fighting chance is very important, and allowing them the ability to be children thru the changes helps to ensure this.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Annette Singleton says:

    Excellent info. Prepping for children should be addressed by all.

  2. MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

    Great article, with much presented to think about. Your statement: “it is very important to me that life keeps some normalcy for them in changing times” has been something on my mind, not specifically for children, but for everyone in general. Keeping life about life is very important.

    I would add: favorite/familiar foods, and favorite music and movies (if there is the means to play them). For me story books, perhaps compilations of many stories, would be a great interactive tool. Also musical instruments, if OPSEC doesn’t include quiet.

    Something else to consider: photo albums and any family history papers. Keeping the family history alive for the next generations would be very important.

    Good article. Thanks.

  3. Very Interesting. One or two suggestions: Your 11 year old almost at the age to start taking over Adult duties is still a child so I suggest putting them in charge of the little ones. At eleven they are old enough to to do a forced march on their own and carry their own bug out bag. giving them this responsibility will free up an adult. The Second with a new born or a little older I suggest a front carry chest pack to carry the child leaving the adult carrier free to carry a weapon and her own bugout bag and trail the little ones thus forming a rear-guard for the children. All older children should carry their own bag also.

    • Pineslayer says:


      I get the idea that you run a tight ship. I was on the verge of a fist pump in the air after I read this.

  4. Hi Beckie-
    What a beautiful, well-thought out post. I wish my childrens’ grandmothers had as much insight as you! Yes, my prepper family and I have also made provisions for our children (I’ve mentioned it before, but between our 4 families, there are 19 children between the ages of 1 and 16!), much along the lines you have described, but somewhat more heavy on the older wooden toys like mancala, checkers, and chess which can be made in the future from materials at hand. But a glaring exception that is not included in our preps is Christmas! You are exactly correct – keeping traditions alive is as much a part of survival as food, shelter, and appropriate clothing. Without traditions, we are exiling the next generation to a barren existence without a sense of culture or history, and the tradition of giving and charity that goes along with Christmas is a most important aspect of our culture that could easily be overlooked.
    I will talk to my prepper family and take steps to correct this egregious oversight… right now. Picking up the phone.
    Thank you so much for your post!

  5. farmergranny says:

    Thanks for the great informative article. As a retired educator, it has been a concern of mine that the education of our children not be thrown to the wayside. Having taught in the inner-city (Chicago), I learned that the children crave routine and schedules. Thus, having “school” is an important part of their routine. Makes me feel better that I have tons of stuff (junk, my kids think) that will fill that gap. A great article and one we need to consider.!

  6. One of the main things to also consider is finding a way to keep the little ones quiet. Granted, it may or may not be important in all cases…but think…. You may be enroute to a safe location, but it all depends on noise discipline. This is one time you do not want some little one having a tantrum! The time to start training them is now! Not when the shtf.

  7. Outstanding article. I know with my grandchildren half a country away, its not something I have thought about. Of couse getting them here would be the first priority, and you can never start training them too soon. My oldest granddaughter is 11 and will be with us some this summer. She wants to learn to shoot, but mom is throwing a fit (anti-gun california raised). Think I can start though with an air rifle without too much trouble. Then we will see what we can sneak in if necessary!!

  8. Great article! While I don’t have children to consider I will put items aside so the holidays can still be enjoyed.
    As a child I loved dolls so I’d try to put aside a few of those as well.

    Now is the time to buy winter clothing, particularly in the North. If you’re near a JCPenney (no affiliation, just love the sales) they’ve been having $2 and $3 racks on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month. I’ve done very well at these racks & I understand they had children’s winter coats for $2. as well. Might be someplace else to check out. I even found 2 packs of men’s merino wool boot socks for $3./pack.

  9. jeremy cole says:

    Being younger than a lot of the subscribers to this blog. I can tell you that yes a lot of the points our made are great but some clothes and especially shoes are made gender specific to fit that body type. And that even when shtf I can’t be picky but I won’t wear girl clothes. Also you should get some jeans they are durable, btw not unisex. Other wise everything is great. If you were wondering I’m 15

    • Kelekona says:

      Ah, probably a good point. When I was young, only boy shoes would bit me, to the point where my grandmother had to lie that they were Rainbow Brite shoes with the decal-rubbed off.

      Now I have a beard and can’t wear girl clothes. The beard is something internal, the girt-dotes is because of rebellion against dropping waistlines in the wights and l got used to pants not chafing my privates… more room you see

      Patterns are probably A good investment -Maybe a book about it.

      • Kelekona says:

        As an aside, I would nOt mind if skirts became Norm as short-pants. Less engineering ) wider size-range, don’t boras fumy want under-eggers… 10 be as fumyWith under oilers,

        Basically get grownup pant when they step growing. skirts Bloomers!

        I want a keyboard

  10. NorCalPrep says:

    Hello preppers,
    just an idea to add to this is instead of buying coloring books (although they are inexspensive) you can just google search free kids coloring pages and finds literally thousands of pages to print out for next to nothing just the cost of black toner and copy paper for your printer. I printed several hundred for all ages and gender. Tip make sure to print at least a few of the same kids tend to want what the other usually older kid has and a squabble or whining session may ensue. Lol! Take care everyone and best wishes in all you do.

  11. Michele says:

    Excellent article – and some food for thought for me, since I’m the one trying to prep for a HUGE entire extended family. I’ve been putting away ‘comfort food’ and hard candy, etc, but didn’t think about Christmas – one more thing to add to a monster list of things to have – I sure hope a SHTF incident doesn’t happen for the next 10 years (and I’m seriously afraid that is wishful thinking at it’s best).

  12. Overkill750 says:

    Thank You for an eye opener. My wife and I never having kids, never gave any thought to prepping for kids. As we do have nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, this subject is something we have over looked, but we will be checking with the parents and rectifying this over site. Again, Thank You. I know this is a little off topic, but I need help finding the BEST edible plants info out there. Thanks for any and all help.

    • alikaat says:

      Hi Overkill 750
      The edible plant sources will depend on where you live. Hate to encourage anyone to blow OPSEC, so unless you are willing to give some general info out to the Wolf Pack (and potentially anyone else who might happen to be reading this), it might be best if you do some research at a local bookstore or maybe ask around a nearby university. There definitely are people here who know edible plants who might be able to point you in the right direction, as well.
      Good luck,

      • Encourager says:

        If you have a college with an agricultural area, this would be a good contact. Also, a nature center would have knowledge of what locally is safe to eat.

    • Alittle 2Late says:

      I purchased a book ” The Forager’s Harvest” by Samuel Thayer. It is a very interesting read, It covers everything you can think of. There are things in my yard that I had no idea were edible let alone pretty tasty. Hope that helps

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      OK750…here’s Amazon’s list of books about edible plants. I use the excellent Peterson edible plant & medicinal plant series, which has individual publications for each section of the country.

      I would also recommend your local library and local colleges (botanists/biologists there could be helpful…check with the horticulture dept), health stores (for referrals to people who study plants in your area), the Native Plant Society for your state (every state has one; Google “Native Plant Society + your state”), and perhaps any elder locals in your area who may have knowledge of the local plants.

      You can also check the library and book stores for books about Wildflowers. Sometimes they combine general info about a plant with info about its uses. Older books seem to have done this more than newer ones. I have actually learned quite a bit this way. Do you have used book stores in your area? They are a goldmine for this kind of thing.

      If you are in an area with a Native American population, check and see if there’s an elder…or anyone… who would share their plant knowledge. If you can’t get connected in general, attend a Pow-Wow and ask around.

      I have studied edible (and useful) wild plants for 30+ years. It’s a great skill to know.

      Hope I’ve helped.

      • Overkill750 says:

        Thanks for all the info. As for location,,, I’m a truck driver and you can never tell where I’ll be when the SHTF. So I’m looking for the best place to start. And asking The Wolf Pack just seemed like the logical thing to do. You guy’s are the best resource there is. You just can’t beat hand on knowledge. Thanks again, Overkill750

  13. SurvivorDan says:

    Being an old ‘practical’ Grinch I hadn’t thought about Christmas presents. Good idea.
    Probably just not space in the one article to touch on it but I would have strong sunblock, children’s aspirin, children’s acetominophen, children’s cough syrup, etc. I have no use for calamine lotion or pepto bismo but the kids might. Children obviously have special needs and I for one forgot to take grand children’s everyday health issues into account. I assumed their parents would take care of the little details. I just made a call and learned that I was wrong (Ass-U-Me) and am remedying those shortfalls.
    Nice article. Insightful. Important topic. Thanks.

  14. Soggy Prepper says:

    This was a good article. I enjoyed it.
    I just need to stock up on growing underwear and socks, oh and shoes.
    Oh, maybe a couple bigger coats. and pants.
    maybe some thermals for “as they grow”. :p lol

    At least with home schooling we have plenty of reading books as well as history, english, science, biology, ect books to read and re-read for everyone for entertainment. Got toys too.
    Have to work on the clothes.

    Prepping, it never ends!

  15. Kelekona says:

    Hmm, I was a pony collector and destroyer as a kid… Still pretty durable, I haven’t looked up “pony bait” on ebay, but it seems that there are people who look to half-destroyed 1980’s toys for the base of their craft.

    Basically any toy that can be half-hypnotic and durable seems good. Heavy-plastic molded seems like a good choice, as are solid puzzles based on mathematics. (The legend of the blacksmith puzzles is that they were all created by someone who lived long ago.)

    To seriousness, perhaps rehearsing TEOTWAWKI as a yearly tradition / celebration might mak for strong nostalgia value. Heck, eating creamed corn and the smell of linKOnlogs-might just gene me nostalgia hard enough to break.

    apology for readability) my keyboard suddenly broke again and I am uncaring of how well the computed can read my manumitting .

  16. Alittle 2Late says:

    Great article
    Not having kids of my own, never even gave it a thought. I do have a niece and nephew both under age 5 that will probably end up with me along with their “your nuts everything is peachy” parents. Luckily I’m still a child at heart and have plenty of toys /games for them/us to play that don’t require electric to work.
    An idea I got from my dad from when he was a kid… they made a cart for the goat to pull them around.. I have very large dogs that can easily pull a cart with a child in it or carry a load. So to the workshop I go.
    Not sure how willing she(dog) will be to do it but if I start training her now shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  17. Fantastic article ! one thing that Im sure you have thought of but not written about in this article is what your going to do about psychological trauma and PTSD . If your prepping for an event that is bad enough to drive you out of your home , it is very possible that they are going to be seeing things or exposed to things that may leave an emotional scar , these things are beyond your controle . What if they witness a murder or see dead human bodies ? even seeing dead animals could bother very young children . Violent people ( zombies & trogs ) , etc . I dont know how you would prep for that , but you may consider it .

    • Encourager says:

      T.R., good points. Gosh, how would you prepare a small child for dead bodies, violence, etc? I guess the best way is to calmly explain to them what might happen. Or blindfold them if you need to go by horrible sights. You would need to train them that if Dad/Mom put on the blindfold, they LEAVE it on until you say to take it off. Knowing kids, that would be hard to do. Afterwards, sitting down with them and talking about it would help. Having them bottle it all up would be the worst thing – PTSD for sure.

  18. Middle-Ager says:

    Good gosh, is it just me, or does anyone else wonder why people still contemplate giving birth to innocent children in this day and age? What are you leaving them with once you old foggies die off? Will they curse you for bringing them into a totally screwed up world that all you hippies and pensioners didn’t see during your over-indulged youth and your do-nothing middle age?

    All of you are still afraid of the tax-man and what will happen to you if you suddenly find your freedom and act on it. And you want to drag more kids into your cowardice? You want to teach them how to be good slaves to the system while prepping them covertly?

    I’ll bet that ALL OF YOU PREPPERS still pay property tax and other fees for land you think you “own”. None of you has the courage to simply admit you are trapped no matter where you call home. Your mortgage is your excuse for not acting. You cry about getting out of debt when you know the bank simply printed money into existence to give you your mortgage. Now you’ve lived there 20-30 years and you still have the assumption that you “own” that property.

    Getting out of criminal, ponzi bankster debt is very simple. Stop paying them. Ooops, I guess that would mean you would be homeless in your advanced years. Can’t have that now, can we? You have the children to look after you in your old age, and they are paying for your massive screw-ups, while you wallow in semi luxury at their expense.

    It’s now up to us middle-agers to try and correct the path our parents and grandparents so wrongly lead us down. We are stuck in the middle, literally wiping the butts of babes and our incontinent grandparents at the same time… as we try to survive ourselves, and have some semblance of life in our middle years.

    Forgive me if I speak harsh truth that you cannot bear to hear. To my grandfather, you failed my father. To my father, you failed your sons. There is no more failure left. I am on my own, and I am not afraid. I will not fail.

    • alikaat says:

      Hi Middle-Ager-
      ‘It’s now up to us middle-agers to try and correct the path our parents and grandparents so wrongly lead us down. We are stuck in the middle, literally wiping the butts of babes and our incontinent grandparents at the same time… as we try to survive ourselves, and have some semblance of life in our middle years.

      Forgive me if I speak harsh truth that you cannot bear to hear. To my grandfather, you failed my father. To my father, you failed your sons. There is no more failure left. I am on my own, and I am not afraid. I will not fail.”

      It is because of these last statements that I don’t assume you are trolling. I definitely agree with you on these last sentiments… but for the first part of your rant (and I’m hoping it is a rant), I am sorry, but I cannot support your point of view. Here in the US, we do have in place a more or less functional gub’t, and support of order while there is any chance of maintaining it is preferable to chaos. The good folk on this site are not advocates of open insurrection or organized rebellion against the order; we are law-abiding citizens who believe in upholding the rights and responsibilities granted us by the constitution under which we live and are not afraid to make our views heard or live law-abiding lives according to our conscience. If you feel otherwise, perhaps you have mistakenly posted on the wrong Prepper site.
      We need to be the productive, responsible adults, as it will indeed fall to our generation to make the most of what our parents and grandparents in their ignorant exuberance of lifestyle have left us to work with. If we are not successful, the lives of those who come after will be “nasty, brutal, and short”(er) than those of anyone who has lived for centuries.
      Rational courage and planning in the face of current crises is our goal and the Wolf Pack is here to advise and support one another. Please refrain from radical anti-gub’t discourse. That is not what we do here.

      • Middle-Ager says:

        A troll? I’ve been using and programming computers since the 80’s, Cat. I’m no more of a troll than you are a Cat.

        I find it very telling that everyone simply ignored most of my main points. You are all slaves no matter how many prepper websites you read every day. Almost all of you couldn’t go a single day without using your debit/credit cards to get through the day.

        It’s been 12 years for me now without a credit card or bank account. The government gets NOTHING from me. I don’t file taxes, and the only tax I pay are on things I buy that have the sales tax built in to the price.

        Yep, I’m a troll. I actually walk it like I talk it. Now run along and go use your credit card to buy something from Amazon so the government can keep tracking your life history.

        • Lantana says:

          Oh, I read your initial comment as an expression of frustration with a situation you know (your own), not an expression of concern for the situation you assume the diverse readers of this article to be in.

          Sorry–and thanks for your concern! 🙂

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      Middle-Ager…I feel for you. You must have a really tough life to feel this way. I, myself, made a conscious decision to not have more than my one child, realizing that I wasn’t perhaps the best parent material. I did ok with the one, but know absolutely that I made the right decision back then…for me.

      The world has always been a tough, dangerous, crazy place…perhaps not a place to EVER bring children into. Think about that…’cause it’s true. And if we payed attention to that (the human race) we wouldn’t be here now.

      I am truly sorry to read your post…it makes me very sad. I hope some light enters your heart and you can shine.

    • Lantana says:

      {{{Middle Ager}}}

      I am so sorry to hear that your parents and grandparents sheltered you from the fact that, throughout the ages, raising your children while caring for your elderly has been the norm. How hard to uphold these weighty responsibilities if one was not raised in preparation for them!

      Take heart, however; though your parents may have been hippies, and their parents do-nothings, neither are representative of their generations.

      Yes, the hippies’ self-indulgence captured headlines. But their peers were inspired–by NASA, by JFK, by MLK–to pursue science & engineering, to join the Peace Corps, to judge their fellow Americans by the content of their character.

      And perhaps some of their parents were foolish and and aspired to nothing more than a handout. But many more of that generation fought hegemony, and those who returned home quietly went on to build industries, conquer space and raise a family as best they could.

      You express such bitter disappointment in your parents and grandparents. Your plight makes me all the more grateful for mine.

      Perhaps some of the common sense wisdom drilled into me (and, I imagine, many others similarly blessed) will help you do better by your children:

      1. Honor your father and mother.
      2. When you marry, it is time to put away childish things.
      3. The best thing a man can do for his children is to love and respect their mother.
      4. Your children are watching how you treat your parents in their old age, and that is how they will treat you someday.
      5. Neither a borrower nor lender be.
      6. Your word is your bond.
      7. Two wrongs do not make a right.
      8. When your neighbor is down, give him a hand up.
      9. Everyone has their own burdens to bear; just because you cannot see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
      10. Kindness is free.
      11. Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.
      12. When someone disappoints you, assume they are doing the best they can or don’t know better before judging them harshly.

      God bless you as you try to do your best for your own children.

      honor one’s mother and father

      • Encourager says:

        Wow, Lantana, great post. I agree completely. I remember how hard my grandma struggled in her life; her husband (my grandfather) walk out on her leaving her with three children. She was 15 when my Dad was born (firstborn), uneducated, didn’t even realize she was pregnant until the labor started. She was malnourished, scared and very poor. Yet she taught me more “true-isms” than anyone else in my life – including your list. Life taught her that no matter how down you are, you just get up and keep going.

        I truly feel sorry for ‘Middle Ager’; to go through life so bitter and hateful would give you no hope at all.

        Children are our hope, our future. That is why we keep having babies! It shows we still have faith that the future will be better.

    • Stop whining , you could be living in North Korea , Vietnam , Africa , be trapped in some shit hole like Afghanistan being shot at , Live in a dangerous destitute country like Mexico or Brazil . And be thankful your not in the same situation as the grandparents you hate so much were during the great depression , or being in Europe in a country occupied by the Nazis , or in China during the Japanese occupation ……….look at it in that perspective and you will find that your problems aren’t so bad after all , whiner . ………… watch Saving Privet Ryan and ask yourself who has it worse , you or those guys ? Take a special look at the knife scene in the French village when the German guts the soldier while whispering to him . I bet your shit isn’t that bad . This is the US not Auschwitz . You may have to now work a little harder …. Boo Hoo !

    • Speaking from a strictly biological and genetic point of view , the only point to life on earth — plant, animal, human — is to keep it going. That is the basic, most fundamental activity of genes, which contain the blueprint for everything we are and do. So even if you remove religious considerations from the equation, that process which we call “nature” considers reproduction its most important process; all other processes serve to facilitate that primary process. So offspring of all species are the most critical members of each group. They are worthy of our conscious efforts and concern.

      You may consider from a very narrow viewpoint of the history of life on earth that “now” would be a terrible time to have children, but people in the distant past reproduced children who survived ice ages, invading hordes from ancient cultures bent on conquest and massacre, devastating floods and droughts, massive earthquakes and volcanoes, mass extinction of their primary mammalian and vegetative food sources, and the most hideous plagues and diseases imaginable. Every person alive on earth is a direct descendant of people who survived one or more such event, without exception. For example, if you are white and your family came to this country during the big migrations from Europe, it is almost certain that somewhere in your family history, there is a survivor of the Black Plague. The fundamental activities that kept these people alive were developing shelter, weaponry, and ways to store food — exactly the type of activites that disaster preparation teaches us to do.

      It is certainly a noble choice for some people to choose not to have children due to the obvious fact that the human race can easily be argued to be a super predator species that has and will destroy many other species on earth. But the reality is, no matter what horrendous changes or disasters occur on the planet, including massive nuclear destruction, some life forms will probably survive and adapt, and ALL species, including humans, will heed their genetic interior directions to continue to try to reproduce no matter how expensive the mortgage is at that point in time. There is no failure whatsoever on the part of your ancestors; in reality, they are members of the most successfully adaptive species in the history of life. You being alive is the greatest evidence of that fact.

  19. CountryGirl says:

    You do understand that if things get SO BAD that you have to run and hide and carry your belongings and children in a hand cart that it is likely most of you won’t make it.

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      Well…that’s one way to look at it CountryGirl, and there’s probably some truth to that. But I choose to see it a bit differently: I will believe that I CAN make it and will give it my best shot.

    • CountryGirl says:

      I didn’t make that comment to be disagreeable. I think this points out a flaw in most preppers plans. Imagine NASA response when an engineer says I don’t think you should launch the shuttle in sub-freezing temperatures because the rubber seals may leak raw fuel and cause the external tanks to explode. The head of NASA responds Lets give it our best shot.

      I am hoping for some discussion and input on a tough question. Maybe there are varying degrees of SHTF and honest people can differ on how bad it must be to bug out. But if the plan is that when it gets SO BAD that you will drive or walk to a remote location to survive on your preps and gardening then it is also SO BAD that you won’t make it or 50% of your group won’t make it, etc. If that is the case I want to give up my seat on the shuttle and fly United airlines.

      I have some real concerns for preparing to survive TEOTWAWKI. The plan for surviving and economic collapse is not so difficult. The plan for a short term emergency (hurricane, tornado, civil unrest, etc. ) is not too difficult. But if it gets SO BAD that I take my family out on the roads walking with all our stuff “hoping” I can beat the odds and we all survive then I think that the plan has a fatal flaw.

      • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

        Country Girl…it’s not the plan that’s bad…it’s that “if it gets SO BAD” thing. Yes, talking LEVELS of SHTF here. Launching a Shuttle involves CHOICE. Surviving SHTF may not, and may require “giving it your best shot”. Comparing a shuttle launch to bugging out is comparing apples to oranges.

        The environment matters…if someone is in an urban environment, bugging out may be the only option. Things have been happening fast, and some people are less-than-perfectly-prepared, many due to no ignorance on their part, but due to commitments, finances, whatever. And though they are preparing now, there may come something that catches many of us “up short”, and choices may have to be made.

        Can you not envision a situation that would require bugging out? I don’t see it as being particularly SO BAD that 50% wouldn’t make it. What would cause that? What is your “SO BAD”, and what would you do if it was THAT bad?

      • CountryGirl says:

        Some claim an EMP would kill 90% in a year. I don’t agree with that but certainly a nuclear war would result in that kind of death and destruction. I guess part of the problem is I thionk too many people overstate the risks. If all we have is a economic collapse it’s quite possible that death rates from all causes won’t change that much, But then that brings us back to why bug out and why would you be walking? If you read the popular books on the subject they talk about mass looting, murders, riots and all kinds of civil unrest. Certainly if that continued for long and/or was nationwide that would be a SHTF situation that is SO BAD that trying to get out of dodge will probably cause your death or the death of some of your party.

        So What we need is a better plan for that kind of situation. Something better then bugging out and running the gaunlet of zombies out to kill you and take your property.

        • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

          That sounds actually interesting. Do you have some ideas of a better plan?

        • Encourager says:

          Well, I look at it this way. I am not ready to die. There is too much I want to do/experience yet. However, I am NOT afraid to die. I know where I will be in the next moment. To watch my loved ones die, however, would be so much harder. To have my precious son or sons die would break my heart, knowing they have so much potential that would be wasted.

          So I choose to live each day to the best of my ability. If I die all these preps I have made will not go to waste. Someone will be able to use them, and perhaps save their and their family’s lives. I do not know what the future holds, but I know the One Who holds the future in the palm of His hand, and I have peace.

          • Soggy Prepper says:

            I agree very much with what you said Encourager.

            I prep for my family, if I die, I go home. So if God determines I’m prepping for someone else, so be it.

            My kids are who I would fight fiercely for and seeing some harm come to them would cause me much pain. So I have determined I would do what it takes to see them safe. Much of which is not nice to those meaning harm to them.

            If it got SO BAD, like all that we would get to look forward to would be perishing from radiation sickness or a horde of 100 marauders descended upon my home. Or some scenario like the movie, “The Road”, I don’t think I’d want to live. Bugging out in that type of scenario is pointless to me.

            I read the Bible though. I know how the story ends after quite a bumpy ride and my faith in Christ is what keeps me going. After the full on “collapse” the only government coming back is going to be under Christ. The only civilization that’s going to be going is HIS. So it won’t be like grubbing along to “re-start civilization” like in the movie The Road or One Second After.

        • CountryGirl says:

          The subject is too large for a simple reply, but:
          1.Move to a safer place.
          2.Make your current location safer to stay in.
          3.Bug out before the disaster – better info maybe

          What I am most worried about surviving are those larger true TEOTWAWKI events like a nuclear war, meteor impact. super volcano, level 5 pandemic, a black swan event, etc. By most worried I don’t think that they are so likely but I mean they are so difficult to survive.

          I am not worried about economic collapase (well I am worried about it but I expect to be able to survive it). I have already moved to a safer place and even if I had not I don’t think it will be “that bad”.

          The bottom line is I don’t think we will see something like what was described in “Patriots” and if we did I don’t think I or most of us can or will survive it anyway. No need to bug out so I can die in a strange place.

          • Pineslayer says:

            Well said CountryGirl.

            My preps for the kids are text books, history stuff, and toys and games. With the rest of the library we are sitting pretty good, unless it all burns from fireball spitting zombies. When it comes to kids and growing up, they need friends and playmates. Hard when everyone is thinking of hunkering down.

            Black Sabbath; Mob Rules; Country Girl, great song.

          • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

            I still think it’s good to prep for ALL contingencies. No harm in it. Wouldn’t want to rely on prep for only one scenario. There are so many variables to what can happen. We are all conjecturing anyway, as to what we’ll face. Prep on everyone.

  20. Check your local libraries.They often give away the books they discard.I have acquired quite a few adult and children’s books this way.I almost need a room just for all of the books I have, good thing I like to read.

    • Encourager says:

      There are also good lists on home schooling sites of age-appropriate books. Many of these are inexpensive. You can also attend a local home school book exchange and pick up many books that way – and not just reading books but math, history,etc.

  21. Never having had any children of our own we’re woefully underprepared in this area, especially for the younger kids. Worse, most of the activities we do when kids visit now wouldn’t be possible in any severe event. For them, it might be like going to a mini-Disney Land, but with all the rides and attractions closed. Thanks for giving me something to think about Beckie.

    The one area we are pretty well covered in is treats. Cakes, cookies, brownies, pudding, and all the trimmings like frosting, candy sprinkles, b-day candles, even maraschino cherries. Uncle Red just loves spoiling kids for a weekend, then giving them back to their parents.

    • Encourager says:

      Red, lol. You mean fillin’ em up with sugar and just as they crash, give them back to their parents??? ROFLOL

      I bet you are also the one to give them a drum set at Christmas…or a Kazoo….

      • Sweets are the DW’s job – I get to teach them the outdoor stuff. My 6 yr old Grandneice told her Dad last trip that Uncle Red taught her to ride a dirtbike, and use a “crutch” (clutch). She wants a motorcycle now, and my Nephew is not too happy with me. Just like giving kids the opportunity to try different things, and push the age bracket a bit – under supervision of course.

  22. Nort'Dakotan says:

    Great post and comments- no article on here is complete without both.

    The most important thing pertaining children is to make sure they are being raised well now so that discipline is not an issue when there’s no time for them to procrastinate or to sit and argue about little things.

    Christmas gifts are not necessary to stock up on, we would just have to return to the old ways of giving a new hair bow, or whittling a chess set, sewing a doll, making a slingshot, etc.

    I hope preppers with newborns include cloth diapers.

    As for the older children, it seems as if their upcoming shift into adulthood is being overlooked. Older children can start learning laundry or cooking skills, using their own BB guns, etc. You should include some literature on their changing bodies, and the girls will need washable menstrual pads or a reusable cup. It’s confusing/embarrassing/inconvenient enough for a girl (as young as 8) to get her period in this modern age of info & readily available disposables, I cannot imagine how hard it would be if SHTF.

    • You make a good point , look at what was expected from a 12 year old during colonial times vs. what is expected out of a 12 tear old today = big difference . If things got THAT bad , they would grow up a lot sooner as far as responsibilities go .

    • alikaat says:

      Hi Nort’Dakotan-
      Guess you’re right about the Christmas presents. But have you ever read the ‘Little House on the Prarie’ series, when Laura longs for a china doll in the window of the General Store? She has wooden dolls made for her by her father, plays checkers with her father on a checker board whose construction was described in detail, and has quite a few other home-made toys. Laura and her sisters lacked for little that could be made with a little ingenuity. When creativity is common… novelty is still valued. I’m betting a rubber bouncy ball or a box of jax will be highly valued gifts in a SHTF world… though now, would be scorned as ‘stocking fillers’ and most likely discarded after a few minutes by our electronic-addicted younglings.
      One thing people may not realize is that young women are reaching puberty too early in our modern era in large part because of the obesity epidemic in children. Womens’ bodies will not menstruate if there is not a minimum amount of body fat, a condition usually attained when they reach ~100 lbs. Historically, this occurred sometime between the ages of 14 and 16. In this modern era of drive-through burger and doughnut shops on every convenient corner, this physiological milestone is occurring at inappropriately young ages, sometimes in children as young as 6 or 7!
      When SHTF, caloric intakes for all of us will of necessity be greatly reduced (who could really prep that much food!), bringing puberty to our youth at a more developmentally appropriate age.

      • Encourager says:

        Alikaat, add to that the hormone filled beef and milk we get at the store. And the soy in everything. Soy acts like estrogen in young (and older) bodies, unless it is fermented. We have soy milk, tofu, soy in every convenience food (even Mac n Cheese). No wonder children are maturing way too early.

  23. Beckie, thank you for your well-thought article.

    Grandparents have such wisdom and perspective to share. Your grandchildren truly were blessed to be born into your family.

  24. Encourager says:

    Great ideas, thanks Beckie! I must agree with those who say children thrive best with a routine. And I agree if TSHTF in a major way, say years, our teens and younger children will be the ones who will need the knowledge to build a new country. Therefore, it is very important to have the proper school books and also for every child to learn basic carpentry, animal care, gardening and other skills of survival. They should also have a good knowledge of history, for without knowledge, history repeats itself. Right now we have the internet – that may not be so in the future. Now is the time to download and printout math pages, spelling charts, alphabets, cursive writing practice pages, pretend money (to learn how to make change), history lessons, even astronomy charts and info on reading the weather.

    I home schooled my youngest son from 4th through 12th grade. He graduates this spring from college. There is so much good stuff out there! Even finding McGuffy Readers at garage sales/resale shops will help immensely (although recently I found just one reader at an antique store for ridiculous price).

    A good way to figure out what you will need, is every time you begin a task, think – if I had to teach this to someone, what would I/they need? Jot it down! A cooking lesson can involve reading, writing, math skills, measuring skills, how to tell time, how to blend, chop (how to handle a knife safely), preventing burns, how to treat a burn, and on and on.

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