Teaching Your Children Situational Awareness

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Some time back, I talked to you about the need to develop your situational awareness. More than anything, that is keeping your head on a swivel, so that you see what is going on around you. This increases your chances of avoiding or being surprised by problems, by giving you the opportunity to see potential threats before they manifest. The few seconds this can save you, can be the difference between life and death.

That’s good for you, especially since you are (I’m assuming here) going around armed. But what about the rest of your family? When you’re with them, you’re there to protect them. But when you can’t be with them; what then? How can they protect themselves, especially if they are unarmed?

Assuming they can’t carry concealed (kids especially can’t), they have to rely on other means of defense. More than anything, that means they have to avoid any potential dangerous situation. In other words, they have to know how to spot potential problems and be able to develop a plan to be able to avoid them, even while others are oblivious to what’s going on. In other words, they need to develop the same situational awareness that you have.

Actually, they need more than just situational awareness; they also need the ability to develop and execute an escape plan. But of the two, situational awareness is harder to teach. So, just how do you teach your children, who are notoriously short-sighted, to have situational awareness?

Like anything else that you want children to remember, you’re best teaching method is to make a game out of it. Children naturally learn by playing, so when you can incorporate play into what you are teaching them, you can get them to pay better attention to what it is you are doing which helps them to learn better and remember the lessons.

So, here are a few ideas you can use for teaching your children situational awareness:

  • Pick out something to be looking for when you are driving, such as a particular car color. If you live where there are taxis, maybe pick taxi cabs. See who can find the most as you go.
  • Teach your children to identify signs that someone is carrying concealed, then have them see who they can find, who might be. As a second step, they can try to determine if those people are actually carrying, without talking to them or touching them.
  • Pick out people at random, perhaps in a shopping mall, and have your children develop a personality profile of them, just based on how they look, what they have, who they are with and what they are doing. This should include the individual’s relationships, work, level of income and hobbies, even though most of that will be nothing more than guesses.
  • When you go into restaurants and stores, have your kids pick out the best places to be to see everything that’s going on and to be able to exit quickly if necessary.
  • As you’re sitting in a restaurant, have them rate everyone that comes through the door on a scale of 1 to 10, based upon how dangerous they look. They’ve got to be able to back up their rating with good reasons.
  • Randomly ask they to identify all the exists in stores, restaurants and other places. Who can do it the fastest.
  • Walk through an area, such as a shopping mall, then have your children describe what they’ve seen.
  • Pick a person at random and point them out to your children. Wait five or ten minutes then have them describe that person.

I hope you can see that the basic idea of what I’m doing here is getting them to look and actually see things that most of us miss. In doing this, they will be increasing heir awareness of what’s going on around them, which is the most essential ingredient to situational awareness. Make the games gradually harder over time, challenging their ability.

It’s even easier to work on helping them to develop escape plans and can be done anytime. Wherever you are, tell them a brief scenario, such as whether they are criminals, or terrorists, whether there is shooting, how many bad guys there are, where they are and what they are doing. Then ask them to come up with an escape plan immediately, telling it to you as they think of it.

Each of these plans should be analyzed as they are presented, looking for holes in the plan and ways of improving it. Each new lesson will help them, so that the next time, their plan should be better.

Since your kids can’t keep their powder dry, you be sure to do it for them, and as always, keep your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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