Preparing Your Child For Emergencies: Nutrition
While the notion that a child’s needs will differ from an adult’s in an emergency situation may seem intuitive, the lack of child-centric products and parental guidance available was one of the main reasons we set out to create LadyBugOut. As we’ve discussed previously, LadyBugOut bags were designed specifically with children in mind; that means the design is different, the way we engage with the bags is different, and the way it’s curated is also different. And one of the key ways that it’s stocked differently is in the nutrition pocket. Read up on the hydration and nutrition considerations we had in stocking the LadyBugOut nutrition pocket in this post by our nutritionist.
After you get your LadyBugOut bag, though, you may wonder how you guide the interaction with your child through the nutrition pocket. We get many questions about this as parents tend to want to keep their child’s bugout bag pristine and untouched, locked away in a closet so their child can not get to it unless there is a catastrophic event. We will say it over and over, let your child interact with their bugout bag!
Here’s everything you need to know about preparing your child for emergencies on the nutrition front:
Interact and Explore: Unlike adults, children require familiarity, interaction, and conversations to feel safe. This holds true for every pocket of the LadyBugOut bag, even nutrition. That means, let your child consume items from their bag! Let them get used to looking through items and selecting something to eat. Use this as a teaching moment to discuss caloric intake guidelines, nutrient breakdown, flavors, and textures. It is also a great oppurtunity to talk about electricity and the difference between fresh and shelf stable foods.
Comfort: During an emergency event, it is contraindicated to have children ration. Ensuring children have food items and brands they recognize and feel comforted by will help them maintain proper nutrition, especially in the instance that they are experiencing fear or anxiety and thus have a reduced appetite. This element of comfort dramatically differs from adults, who have a rational understanding of why the need to consume foods they typically might not in order to survive. If you were wondering, comfort is the reason behind items like candy, cookies and other treats included in the LadyBugOut bag.
Time: The LadyBugOut bag contains 24 hours’ worth of nutrition because 1) it allows the child to carry the bag on their own, which can help create a sense of empowerment and reinforce the idea of resilience, and 2) the immediate aim should be reunification with parents and/or caretakers, who can provide more food ASAP.
Restock: Once your child has taste-tested the items in the nutrition pocket and you know what they like and dislike, stock up at home accordingly. Remember that children’s tastes change so encourage them to try items regularly -- ideally every 90 days. One great way to do this is to chose items for long road trips and reinforce the discussion on shelf stable foods.
Storage: Our recommendation is to have the bag accessible in your home. For some children, having the bag in plain sight but out of reach may be preferred in order to ensure the bag stays properly stocked and organized. During longer trips away from home, we recommend taking your LadyBugOut bag and selecting a few food items to rotate in your inventory.
Finally, we know you are busy and already have a million things to keep track of. To help you out, we will remind you a year after you purchased your LadyBugOut bag to bring out your child’s bag to refill and restock. And perhaps practice some drills with your child.