Every day Carry ( or EDC ) items aren’t just for gun totin’ survivalists in hunting vests or massive utility belts (though I’m sure my kids would LOVE to wear a massive utility belt!); they are also for Moms and children. It’s also not what we carry in our purses, bags or backpacks, but those things that are actually on our bodies at all times once we leave the house. Yes, I do carry an everyday bag now that contains more items, but this is a focus on those important things that should always be on us.
We’ve all heard the stories about little boys packing as much stuff as they can into their pockets, and then never emptying them out before those pants go into the wash. Frogs, crayons, hot wheels, rocks, slingshots, used airsoft BBs, etc. are common things that I found in my boys’ pockets. But what about those really important things that should be in their pockets all the time – as soon as they leave the house for anything more than checking the mailbox for mail.
While it’s a little harder for girls since they don’t always have pockets, you can train them about carrying a bag (though it’s not as effective as a habit as bags tend to be left often).
We started training our children, early on, that carrying specific emergency things and everyday items was extremely important. Here are a list of the things by age level. We stand at the door as we are getting ready to leave and load from our basket at the front entrance before we step a foot out the door.
Pre-K Every Day Carry
- Wallet (always has $1 in it) + 2 quarters
- Flashlight – both of our boys loved having flashlights as little guys, so we always let them tuck a tiny one in their pocket, both for play and for use.
Elementary Every Day Carry
- Wallet (always has at least $5 in emergency cash tucked away, plus whatever amount we think they can safely carry from their stash) + 4 quarters
- Flashlight – we always provided a tiny flashlight on a keychain
- Key – assuming that you give your child a house key
- Multi-tool – this is something specific to our family, but our older children carry a small multi-tool with them.
- Walkie-talkie – for neighborhood play, one of the children carries a walkie-talkie so that the group can get in contact with home. If they are going in different directions with plans, one carries a family cellphone.
- Compass – Not only is this education, it’s great fun for my youngest who loves finding the way to everywhere.
Middle School & High School Every Day Carry
- Wallet (always has $20 emergency cash tucked away) plus their own money + change
- Keys – (as they are older, the keychains have other little additions as the children prefer – small clippers, pry bars, etc.)
- Compass – this is attached to a jacket or backpack or keychain
- Flashlight – the children tend to carry a larger flashlight as they get older, but still compact,
- Pocket Knife – please be aware that carrying a pocket knife on most school campuses will result in immediate suspension or explusion. We homeschool, so it isn’t a factor for us.
- Multi-tool – if your multi-tool has a blade, you can forgo the knife. Ours carry both as their multi tool does not have a reliable blade. The oldest carries a larger knife than the younger does.
- Lighter or other fire starting implement
- Cell Phone – If they are going out without us, they get a cell phone to keep with them for emergencies (walkie talkies are kept for just neighborhood wanderings)
NOTES FOR GIRLS: We all know fashion can butt heads with preparedness, but consider not purchasing pants for girls that don’t have pockets (in the elementary+ years), adding a side pocket through a side seam to fuller skirts/dresses. At this point, a bag/purse/backpack bag is probably going to be necessary, as well, but know that those items can easily be lost if a bag is left behind or stolen.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY NOTE: in all of our wallets, as part of our every day carry, is a print out that gives important contact information in case someone is lost, injured or in need of assistance. It contains basic phone number information & medically necessary information (blood type & allergies). We are also implementing an I.C.E. system on all of our cellphones with this same information.
TRAINING TIP: Early on we taught our children about the importance of carrying their wallets at all times – and focused right on their bottom line. If we went to the toy store, but they did not have their wallets, they were not able to buy a toy. We did not allow them to ‘borrow’ money from us to pay us back when they got home (unless the object was more than what we typically have them carry on a day to day basis, in which we do make arrangements for borrowing). This helped them remember to always grab that wallet when we’re going out – they never knew when they might need it!