Self Defense for Five Year Olds: Teaching My Son Survival Skills


My son Massimo is 5 years old.  We practice a few survival techniques just in case there is a zombie apocalypse or a stranger tries to catch him.


He has been taught to say, “Danger stranger.”  I have tried to tell him, without making him cynical or scared, that there are people out there that may not have the best intentions so just to be a little cautious. 

Avoidance of a bad situation with a shifty stranger is the best strategy.  (I know that sometimes it is the people we know who may not wish us well, but I feel that this concept would be too great for a 5 year old.)

We have the “bones into jelly exercise”.  This is a technique that consists of relaxing your body completely (so it is like dead weight) and making it like jelly if someone tries to grab you.  Typically the attacker will think you will tense up your body, so they won’t expect you to do the opposite and relax.  Once you turn your “bones into jelly”  you will typically have a few seconds to sprint and runaway.

A fellow blogger, Katherine at Lost in Relocation, has a drill with her child.  She says, “I’ll tell you a secret. I make Chase practice carrying my lifeless body across the apartment in case I ever lose control of my legs or am unconscious.  I think it makes us both feel better.”  I tried this drill with Massimo today, but he said I was too heavy!  This will be a survival technique that we will practice more frequently to build up his endurance.

You maybe wondering why I am trying to teach my child defensive skills.  We live in suburbia and the skills may not be needed, but I feel like preparation is the best gift to give.  When Rocco my 2 year old is a little older he will also get on the training program.

When I was 5 years old we were living in Las Vegas, NV.  I was a Brownie, a junior Girl Scout.  One beautiful Sunday morning my fellow Brownie, her Mom and I were selling cookies outside the Church across the Catholic school we attended.  We found that churchgoers are the best cookie customers so being at this location was key.


When the mass started our sales went down to zero since all the potential buyers were inside the church.  My friend’s Mom allowed us to go to the playground at our school.  She felt safe because it was right across the church and it was the 1980s, a more innocent era. 

While we were in the playground a man drove by us and he opened his car door.  He was butt naked!  He asked my friend and me if we wanted to go for a ride.

Instinctively I said, “No!”  I told my friend to come to me because she was naïve and was about to approach the evil man.

We were very fortunate because the church bells started ringing a few minutes afterwards and all the people started to exit the church.  The man saw this and zoomed off.

I think that moment of bravery and quick thinking of  the 5 year old me changed my destiny.  I could have been harmed and kidnapped by the stranger, and then my picture would be one of the many placed on a milk carton for missing kids.  (It is no longer a common practice, but in the 1980s missing kids were placed on milk carton boxes.)

When I said “no” to the stranger, my life went on, and I am now a Mom to a 5 year old instead of being a missing 5 year old kid.

I feel very blessed to be alive.  I know my survival training for my kids might be a little bizarre, but it is never to early to be prepared.

I hope you have a wonderful day!


5 responses to “Self Defense for Five Year Olds: Teaching My Son Survival Skills

  1. Island Traveler

    This is one lesson we should teach our children, that they should not talk to strangers, that they need to say no, that they need to speak and ask help when needed. The world has full of wolves and child molesters/abusers. We need to protect our children as much as we can. We world has changed a lot. Our children will never have the same environment as we did growing. We need to equipped them with anything that they can use to protect themselves. Great post my friend. Your son will feel safe knowing you taught him the basics of survival.

    • Hi! I really do believe that it is our duty to protect our kids, but teaching them how to take care of themselves. Thanks for reading my post and the Liebster award. I am humbled.


  2. Louise
    What poignant writing. Your last message to me inspired my last blog entry also! Great minds! Needless to say I think we have some shared experiences. Perhaps you and I should collaborate on a book : Tiger Mom’s Guide for Survival.
    Keep writing. You are lovely.

    • Thank you for the compliment Kathryn. I do believe great minds think alike!

      I subscribed to your blog so I can keep up with your interesting antics!


  3. Pingback: The Walking Dead is Coming Back–I Love Zombies! |

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