Five Things Every 12 Year Old Should Know

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

As a father of six children I have found that there are several things my children must know. As the world becomes much more complex; these things become more important. There are many other things that our kids should know and hopefully they will learn them before they need them, but these five things are a must.

1. How to get home:

I remember about 15 years ago I took my family to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse and his friends. After lunch we were all standing in line to ride yet another ride and I look around and could not find my 4 year old son. I felt the sinking feeling in my heart as I began to scour the crowd for him. Luckily for me, there was a nice older couple who saw him walk off and brought him back to me. This event got me wondering; what would have happened if that couple would not have seen him walk off?

That very night the education began. My wife and I made flash cards and started teaching our children important information like their home address, telephone number and our full names.

As they got a little older we taught them how to get home. This was fairly easy to do. We started off by going about three blocks from our home and had them tell us where to turn to get us all home safely. Once the three blocks were mastered we would venture further away from our home and have them direct us back home. Eventually we would go to large landmarks in town like a shopping mall, the State House, Church, etc. and they all learned how to get home.

As technology changed so did our teaching. When my wife and I got cell phones the kids learned those new numbers. When the older children moved out, the younger kids learned where they lived and there cell phone numbers. You will be amazed at how much information your children can retain!

2. Basic first aid:

This is also very important and when I say basic I am not talking about how to stich a large wound closed or anything thing like that. What I am talking about is that they know where the family’s first aid kit is kept and how to use the items in it. Like most prepping families our first aid kit is larger than the little kits you get at Wal-Mart and we carry extra smaller kits when we leave home.

Our kits not only have Band-Aids and the other basics but also gaze pads, terry strips and OTC medicines. All the kids know how to properly clean out a wound, stop basic bleeding and how to get help.

A commonly over looked important item to have in your first-aid kits would be the phone numbers for adults that live close by that can assist with the rendering of aid along with the contact number for your local EMT office.

In order for your children to feel comfortable with the first aid kit you have at home I would recommend that you roll play with them and have them treat you for different events. In some cases you might have a small cut on your finger and they have to properly clean it out, add ointment and a bandage. Yet in another scenario you might have a broken arm and they would have to help you immobilize it and call a neighbor who could get you to help.

Whatever kind of kit you have it is important that your children are familiar with where your kit is stored and how to use the items in it.

3. How to find food and water:

If your children are at home, this is a pretty easy task to complete. But once they know where the food is stored they also need to know what to do with it. When I was off at college I called my wife (then girlfriend) long distance to ask her how to cook a can of green beans. She got a good laugh out of that and vowed that none of her children would ever be that helpless. She has taught all of our children how to cook. Just the other day my 12 year old daughter cooked supper to include homemade biscuits.

Now when they are away from home this task is not so easy. What would happen if you and your child were hiking or camping in the woods and your child got separated from you? Do they know what plants can be eaten; can they fish or catch small game? If not then you need to teach them. A simple internet search for Wild Eatables would be a good place to start.

4. How to defend/prefect themselves

Gun safety would be a good place to start. There are several types of firearms in and around our farm. The first thing I did was take the curiosity about guns away by showing the guns to all the children. The children were allowed to hold them, after they were made safe, and I have allowed them to all shoot a gun at the range. A 22 caliber rifle is a good place to start. At the age of 9 my youngest daughter learned how to handle and safely shoot a 22 rifle.

Sometimes hiding is the best way for the kids to protect themselves. Find a good place for the kids to take refuge if danger shows up.

Emergency numbers are another good resource that your kids can use to keep themselves safe. If they are ever in a situation where they need help, a list of emergency phone numbers will be very useful. The list should include, but not be limited to, the local police station, neighbors, family and close friends.

Lastly check into self-defense classes. These can be found at your local YMCA, Police Department or Church. Many organizations offer self-defense classes for entire family.

5. How to swim

Swimming is an important skill for the entire family to learn. We have a small pond in our back yard and spend part of the summer hiking around a local lake. I am sure that just about every family routinely comes in contact with both large and small bodies of water and because of this it is important for your children to learn how to swim.

Children can actually learn how to swim before that can walk. There are many places that offer swimming lessons and usually at a reasonable price. Check your local YMCA or swim club for a list of lessons. We actually bartered with a local lifeguard for swimming lessons.

I was speaking with a few of my preparedness blogging friends and we all decided to write on this subject. Please check out there blogs to see their ideas on this important subject.

Mom with a Prep –

Are We Crazy, Or What? –

You can also find me on Facebook –


7 responses

  1. […] Palmetto Prepper – 5 Things Every 12yo Should Know […]

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