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Ask Tess: How did you teach your kids to keep quiet about your preps?

A reader wants to explain to her young children why it’s important to maintain a level of secrecy about their preparedness supplies.

Hello Tess,

I have four kids under the age of 9 and it’s been hard for me to explain why we are preparing and for that matter why my kiddos should not let people know that we are preparing for. Have you had to deal with this before? Can you give me some advice?


Dawn M.


Hi Dawn,

Yes, I have dealt with this issue, and yes, it is very difficult explaining to children the importance of OPSEC. Let’s be honest, they just don’t get the security issue of prepping. A few times when I was living in Houston, TX, my kids brought some neighborhood kids in our prep closet to “show them around.” I almost went ballistic thinking of how I was going to have to explain to these kids parents why I have all these food and supplies but nothing happened. I was also concerned because I thought the neighbors would take over our house if a disaster occurred. Shortly after that, we all sat down and my husband and I explained that these supplies are for our family to use in case of an emergency. Simply stated, other people have their supplies and we have ours. We stressed that it is a private issue and we don’t want “tours” of our supplies. The kids seemed to understand, but to eliminate any more supply closet visits, we adopted the “out of sight, out of mind” plan and moved our prep closet to a more secure location of the house where the kids didn’t frequent. This seemed to help out a lot. I have also told my readers to utilize hidden storage space such as using under bed storage containers.

When I first explained our need for preparedness, my oldest child was around 7 years old. We had just gone through dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I explained to the kids the importance of a family being prepared for emergencies so that we had everything we could ever need in a disaster. They seemed to grasp this concept better than preparing for a TEOTAWKI scenario. So my advice for you would be to explain preparedness to them using basic emergencies and terminology that they know: flooding, tornadoes, etc. Further, stick with small digestible amounts of information and allow them to ask questions. This might be a good time to bring up the family emergency plan and show them the emergency binder. This will help keep their concerns at ease knowing that their parents have everything under control. Remember, “we’re not scared, because we’re prepared.”

I certainly hope this helps you. I know that OPSEC is a challenge when you have small children. When they get a little older they will understand more, so be patient with them. My son, who is 11 now recently watched a doomsday type documentary where the subject of OPSEC came up and he chimed in during the program saying that he understood why we kept our supplies quiet. So, they do get it eventually.

I hope this helps! Thanks so much for your question and good luck.


This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on November 19th, 2013

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