10 Survival Skills Every 12 Year Old Should Know

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Does your twelve year old know these basic life skills? It's about time that he or she did (and frankly - all of us!) // Mom with a PREP

If your twelve year old was lost and alone, would he or she be able to take care of themselves and siblings/friends until they could get to help, or until help reached them? Would your idea of survival skills be different if you lived in an urban area versus living on a homestead in the middle of nowhere? After viewing the video from SNOmultimedia on what his top 5 survival skills are for kids, I wanted to expand on that to 10 Survival Skills every 12 year old should know – the Mom with a Prep version – and be sure to check out this version by Jennifer from Are We Crazy Or What!?

I’ll admit – my skills are probably skewed to my kids. We live in a highly developed suburban area so the kids are familiar with where they are. There aren’t wild spaces to explore. We don’t travel a lot, so the likelihood of  crashing a plane into a remote backwoods lake is pretty slim.  HOWEVER, those incidents can happen close to home – where they are involved in a car accident, they get lost on a field trip, they are left home alone for an extended time, they are separated from us because of a natural disaster, etc. So the list is developed for our particular concerns for our kids, but can translate to kids everywhere. We’re also assuming they already know how to ride a bike, how to dial 9-11, how to swim, and know their emergency phone numbers. Surviving in the environment they are in is a more likely situation than being lost in the Appalachian mountains, alone. And for us, some life skills are important because they are valid survival skills. So remember, it’s our list based off our circumstances and life experiences, your list will probably be a bit different.

Does Your Twelve Year Old Know How To:

Not Panic?

One of the most basic of survival skills is not to panic. In panic-mode, we make big mistakes, we get confused, we get scared, we do stupid things. Think how much more scared a child would be – do they know how to control that panic and make good decisions?

Be Aware?

If ever your child is caught in an active shooter situation, a mob experience or being chased by the neighborhood bully or bad guy, does your child know how to decide if they should run, hide or fightback? Does she spend all of her time on her phone texting her friends instead of paying attention to what’s going on around her? Does your son pay attention to where you are driving, especially in areas he’s not familiar with, so he has some sense of where he is if he had to go bring help? Do they understand the places that are dangerous for them to go, the things that are dangerous for them to do, the people that are dangerous to be with? At some point, every child needs to understand that what happens in his or her surroundings has a direct impact on them – they can’t continually act as if nothing bad ever happens. Bad stuff happens, and they need to become aware of how to handle it.

Give First Aid?

Can your child stop bleeding, perform CPR, use a splint, treat a burn? This might be the time to enroll them in a Red Cross CPR/First Aid class, grab the Boy Scout Book for First Aid or other ways to make sure that they can perform these most basic of First Aid skills by the time they are twelve.

Handle a Fire Arm?

Whether for self-defense, hunting, or sensible gun safety, by the age of twelve, all kids should know how to handle a firearm. I’m sure many will balk at that who are anti-gun, but in my mind, a child who knows how to use a gun safely is actually a child who is less likely to be accidentally shot, less likely to shoot someone else because he or she is messing around, and less likely to be blindsided if ever the need did arise to defend his family or provide food if the time came. If you don’t have the ability to do this, you can enroll in 4H or take an Appleseed course!

Feed Himself ?

Can your daughter open a can of food from the pantry without an electric can opener (bonus if they can do this!) ? Does he know how to work the stove and oven? Do they know how to prepare a basic cut of meat safely? Know safe, basic knife skills? Do they know how to harvest (and plant) from the garden and prepare a dish – fish and prepare – hunt? Do they understand what water is safe to drink ?

Defend Herself?

Does your child understand how to defend themselves if attacked? Can they use basic defense moves against an adult to try to save themselves? Do they understand when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to run? Have they taken any self-defense classes or taken martial arts training?

Find Their Way Home?

Does your child know how to find out where they are? Can they get themselves home if they ride a little too far on their bike? Do they understand the basic principles of using a compass or reading  a map? Do they understand how to find their location at night by the stars….or tell their location during the day by shadows? Can they find their way home from church without a GPS? And respectively – do they understand how to use the GPS on your phone? Do they know the major streets where they live, major arteries near their house, major landmarks in their area?

Work with Tools?

Does your 12yo know how to use a knife? a hammer? a screw driver? a saw? Understand putting a basic structure together?

Stay Warm?

Building a shelter from nothing, using clothes to bundle up, blocking off entrances with blankets, starting a fire – does your child understand the basics of doing these things and why staying warm and dry so important?

Get Help?

Besides knowing who to ask in a situation where they are lost – and look for the community helpers and moms, do your children know how to leave clues if they are lost and trying to find their way home, do they know how to signal for help?

And importantly – do YOU know how to do all of these things? Have you taught your child? Make that a priority with the coming summer…learn a new skill a week…practice them together – BE PREPARED! If you have suggestions or your own list, put your list in the comments – we’d all love to learn more!

Other Links to check out for Survival Skills for your kids:

Are We Crazy Or What? Come read Jennifer’s ideas on her 10 Survival Skills

Survival Mom – 32 Survival Skills for Kids

Palmetto Prepper – 5 Things Every 12yo Should Know

Backyard Pioneer – 10 Preparedness Skills Every 12yo Should Know

 

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Jane Baldwin
Jane is a follower of Christ, homeschooling mom, and blogger, who, with her husband and children, is looking to become more self-reliant, skilled, and more PREPared for the unique circumstances life throws at them everyday. Just please don't notice the chocolate on her keyboard or the large pile of clean (mostly) laundry at the foot of her bed.
Jane Baldwin

@MomwithaPrep

Just a Mom getting her prep on for her family - no matter the emergency. #preppertalk #momwithaprep #survival
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Comments

  1. Cynthia says

    Every parent should read this article. When my son was younger, he is now 22, we would play a game where he would give me directions on how to return home, go to his grandparent house (which was 20+ miles from where we lived) and other places we frequented often.

  2. says

    Well thought out. We have become ‘indoor people’ and don’t take the time to teach our children these things often. Being a suburban child has it’s obvious disadvantages. Thanks for the article!

  3. Teresa says

    When my daughter was 5 and I was a single mom, I used to practice making 911 calls with her. I was so afraid something would happen to me and she would be stuck in the house alone with my body and not know how to get help. So randomly I was say, “911, whats your emergency?” and she would come up with something like, my mom fell down. Then I would ask, “whats your address please?” and she would give it. Its never to early/young to teach your children how to react in a crisis situation, and the more you practice for it, the more comfortable they will feel if it ever actually happens.

  4. Tamaya says

    We played the ” get us home” on the weekend. My 10 yr old got us home from downtown. We were at a place we had never been before and he was still able to get us home. He knows that towards the lake is south, he knows out subway stop, and what bus to take. He can read the transit map. He also knows how to walk from the subway if he have too.

  5. Bryan says

    Love it!! I started teaching my son @ 6yrs old and my daughter was 4yrd old about firearm safety. Still a work in progress. But they both know how to defend themselves. Thank you for your article

  6. CTY says

    This is a great post! Like you said adapt to your specific needs–so for us some desert survival skills (keeping cool) & importance of hydration.
    Like to say that The Hardy Boys book series teaches a whole lot too.

  7. Blue says

    After 20 years in the Marines, and at least 3 years of my life waisted on reading mindless copy/paste “survival” expert sites – this is the first that I have come across that references the BSA First Aid book! That is super awesome – I shall now do you and your readers a solid: skip the First Aid book and get the BSA Hand Book companion (not the one with the sign off pages). It has the same info for first aid, but has so much more for skills, in a manner that is easy to read and follow (it’s is written for boys age 11-18) and, for all you moms out there, even has the safety precautions as well. I can’t recomend the Scouts (Boy or Girl) enough for helping to build kids for a better future (even post apocoliptic, because they will have survival skills!)

    • momwithaprep says

      Well, thanks, I think? :D I assure, you…no copy/pasting here! But I’m glad that you found it helpful! We picked up a copy from the BSA store and are working through it as one of our homeschool courses! Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Kimber says

    This is such a great article, my son is 21 and boy how I wish I thought about this when he was young! He has no basic survival skills and no desire to learn them. I live in fear of him being caught unprepared in an emergency, my current husband has taught me so much about being prepared and I am beyond grateful for his knowledge. Parents, I urge you to teach these things to your children, it is easier to spend the time and effort teaching them now than it is lying awake and worrying later.

  9. kim d. Klicker says

    The best training I ever received was the Girl Scouts!!!!! I went from Brownies thru Seniors. The neighbor boys all went thru the Boy Scouts. We learned how to take care of ourselves and others! We will survive!!!!

  10. Stephanie says

    I just want to say thank you for these ideas. I am a newcomer to the survival stuff, but believe it’s always been within me–I was that kind of kid. I am unfortunately just now getting a clue and trying to pass things down to my kids, but am SO overwhelmed. We started gardening a few years ago, and my kids know how to cook. That’s about it. I think next needs to be self defense and learning how to start a fire. These can easily be built into our homeschool curriculum, but it is hard to know where to start. Thanks for this and many other lists!

  11. Abigail's Mommy says

    My 6 year old knows how to do most of this list. She will know the whole list and be able to access the gun safe before she is able to stay at home by herself. Thanks for making a list a can reread to from time to time.

  12. Bambi Bittner says

    I have a question. How do you implement the practices you’re trying to teach your children through this? I don’t really want to put my child into a situation where they are all alone in a large crowd or being chased/attacked by a ‘stranger’. Any thoughts? My concern is that I truly don’t think my children would know exactly what to do. I can send my oldest to find a pair of pants on the end of a bed and she’ll look right in the exact spot I asked instead of looking over the whole bed when they pants are 1foot from the end of bed. That really concerns me, even with all my kids, it’s like they only look right where you said, they don’t look at the big picture. I mean they know how to scream, bite, kick if someone tries to take them, but the other things…..

    • Mom with a Prep says

      Bambi – through a lot of talking, and a lot of role playing and practice. We don’t focus to the point of warping the kids, but we do talk about situations when we’re in them, after we’ve had something happen, and we pick some time each week to talk about and role play whatever skill we’re learning. We think it’s important to give them as much information as we deem good for them to know at the age they are, and trust that they are going to react the best they can, and God takes care of the rest. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other concerns.

  13. DeeDee says

    I am so glad I found your site! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the tips and ideas I have found here. Making sure my son is prepared for an emergency has always been a priority but sometimes knowing how to do that has been a challenge. Being a military family an all of the moving that brings with it has made being prepared even more challenging. Thank you for sharing your ideas, information and suggestions. Finding this site has truly been a blessing.

  14. Rita says

    I appreciate your lists my kids are grown and I still worry about them. I’ve always taught them about talking to strangers, answering the door and not asking who it is first and things like that but now I worry about them going with or around bad people. I’ve always told them to make good decisions but it’s hard when everywhere you go someone is always either on drugs or drinking or mentally I’ll and trying to do harm! How do we shield our kids from that? I’m glad we still have concerned people like you who care and write post like these. Thank you!

  15. says

    Great article. Thank you for putting this out. I will be subscribing to your feed since I’m involved both in self-defense/survival training and I’m a parent.

    Thanks!

  16. Shawn says

    If you want your son to become proficient at all these skills join Boy Scouts. I am a Scoutmasterand we started teaching this in Cub Scouts and put it all into practice at our weekly meetings and monthly camp outs. We camp outside and cook outside and practice survival, first aid, land navigation and youth protection 12 months a year (outside in Minnesota). Our Scouts have participated in lost person drills through natural disaster drills and camped in survival situations in sub zero temps in shelters the boys construct on their own. Where else does a youth get to practice what you teach?

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