The job of parents is to do more than just watch over their children, it is to help prepare them to become adults. Part of that education means teaching them essential survival skills in case they find themselves on their own. In case your child gets lost in the woods or is out on their own without help from you or other knowledgeable adults, here are ten essential skills you need to teach them to stay alive and find assistance.

Stay Calm

First and foremost, your child will need to be taught to keep their wits about them when lost or in an unfamiliar setting. This means teaching them to assume the mentality that they will get out of this situation starting with staying calm.

Find Shelter

Seeking out shelter is important if the weather turns cold or nasty, but it is also important if it may be some time before they are found. They don’t have to build anything but find a place that is out of the wind and where they can build a bed of leaves to keep their body temperature up during the night.

Locate Water

If they are out in the woods, show them the importance of finding water. Water that they can drink, but in flowing streams may also lead them to find areas where people live. Show them animal tracks and how that often leads to sources of water.

Stay Healthy

Your child should be getting plenty of exercises, so they are in-shape for whatever happens. This can make a real difference in their survival.

Build Fire

Teach your kids how to build a fire, starting with finding a place out of the wind and then gathering kindling like dry grass, twigs, and branches. Teach them to lay a bed of dry grass and twigs to start the fire, then cross the small branches on top for fuel.

First Aid

Your child needs to know how to clean and bandage any wounds they experience. This will help keep them from becoming infected.


Your child does not need a black belt, but there are a few moves they can be taught so they can defend themselves and get out of a dangerous situation. When in danger, run. But if they need to get away, a few self-defense moves will help.

Read Maps

Teach them how to use a map and compass, along with finding the North Star at night so they can move in the right direction.

Canned Food

Did you know that canned food can be opened without a can opener? Well, it can so teach them this skill in case they find canned food.

Seek Food

Food is probably the last thing they should learn how to find simply because people can survive weeks without nourishment. The first rule is showing them what not to eat so they do not become poisoned. Next, small animals that have fur provide good nutrients, but they will be hard to catch. So, save this lesson for last.

A well-prepared child can survive for several hours, overnight, or even days thanks to the survival skills that you teach them.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.