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How to Raise Kids That Can Survive in the Outdoors

As important as the Three R’s are, basic survival skills could be the most important thing a child can learn. And wilderness survival isn’t taught at school. Don’t leave your children to flounder in an emergency! Make sure they know how to survive the great outdoors.

Place Them in a Scouting Program

Scouting programs teach kids valuable outdoor and survival skills in a fun, social environment. At scouts, kids can learn how to construct a shelter, tie useful knots, find water and food, start a fire, perform basic first aid, and use orienteering techniques. Scouting also provides kids with goal setting opportunities as kids earn badges, loops, and pins. Scouting promotes attributes like preparedness, conservationism, loyalty, hard work, honesty, ingenuity, teamwork, and respect. Kids who have gone through the scouting program are known, recognized, and rewarded for possessing these qualities. If you are ever stranded in the wilderness, you’d better hope that you have a girl scout or boy scout with you!

Teach Them Valuable Skills

While scouting programs provide lifesaving and life-changing skills, no one is a better teacher for your children than you. If you are unable to provide your children with a scouting experience, you can still teach your kids important survival skills. Even if your children participate in scouts, your personal instruction is an invaluable resource. In addition to teaching your children the survival skills mentioned above, teach them how to stay calm in an emergency, stay where they are when they are lost, keep warm without a fire, properly use a knife, fish, forage, and most importantly, swim. Swimming lessons teach kids important skills they’ll need in the water.

Go on Frequent Adventures Together

The best way to practice their newfound skills is to go on frequent outdoor adventures together! With no technology or other distractions, you can focus on learning, practicing, and bonding together. And don’t do all the work yourself. Let your child practice their skills, even if the fire is smoky, the tent is askew, and the fish are small! Hands-on training will stick with them far longer than simply being told how to do it. Allow your kids to lead the way on hikes while following a trail map (and steering them right at any miss-turns). Let them gather wood and start the fire, even if dinner is a bit slower coming than normal! Practice knots and lashing skills as you set up camp. Maybe even let them do the cooking!

Outdoor survival skills are important for everyone to learn. Give your kids the gift of early proficiency. Teach them, practice with them, and enroll them in scouting if your circumstances permit it. Who knows, they might even save your life one day!

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