By “little ones,” I mean kids. Though I suppose it can mean anything else that could be called a little one.
Obviously, survival is going to be a big deal after the apocalypse. If you don’t focus on your survival, you won’t survive. Period. For some people, survival might come naturally. For others, it might take some training. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to train everybody in your group. Even if you’ve got a good handle on finding food and water, you’re still going to need to know how to defend yourself. Having a stash of ninja throwing stars isn’t going to help you if you just keep dropping them on your foot while the other guys take off with your food.
Everyone’s going to need training. Even (especially?) the kids. This shouldn’t be a surprise; parents train their kids now, and the world hasn’t ended yet (well, not technically, anyway). Think about it: as a parent, you teach your kids when they’re young to not talk to strangers and to look both ways before crossing the street. What’s that, if not a form of survival training?
Sure, the circumstances will change once the world goes to That Place in a handbasket. But you’ll still need to teach your kids (and everyone else in your group) how to survive and how to defend themselves.
The training regime will vary for different age groups. It’ll have to. After all, you can’t teach a two-year-old what you can teach a twelve-year-old. For one thing, a twelve-year-old can talk (hopefully). And yeah, it’s probably a good idea to teach your two-year-old survival and defense tactics. But instead of teaching them how to use a shotgun—if you manage to find one—you’ll have to start with something smaller. Something that isn’t bigger than your kid. Something like a slingshot, maybe.
You can introduce slingshot/defense training as a game. Toddlers and preschoolers love games. Mine do. And if I gave my kids a slingshot and told them to turn random things into projectiles, they’d be ALL OVER IT. I imagine this would be the case for your average toddler or preschooler.
When training the little guys, it’ll be best to start with the basics. Things like identifying bad guys, how to recognize usable supplies, how to use a slingshot, how to find good projectiles to use with the slingshot. It’s hard to go into much more detail than that, when the people you’re training are still figuring out what a rectangle is.
Once they’ve got the basics down, you can start teaching them more advanced things. You know, like how to use a weapon that isn’t a stick with a rubber band. You can also start teaching them how to aim and how to get those usable supplies they can now recognize.
While using mechanized weapons like guns is a good thing, it couldn’t hurt to teach people how to use non-mechanized weapons too. You never know when you could end up in hand-to-hand combat. Knowing how to use a knife can be a good thing. Knowing how to use ninja throwing stars would be good, too, if you’re lucky enough to find a stash of them to keep. (But watch out for those ninjas. I hear they’re deadly.)
Don’t forget to teach everyone (not just the kids) that you can use anything to defend yourself. Even something as mundane as a frying pan can become a weapon. If your three-year-old can wave a large stick around, they can use that as a weapon (if they don’t like slingshots).
Like with anything else, knowledge and training will be cumulative. After all, you can’t run until you can walk. Unless you’re one of those prodigies. In which case, forget the slingshot. Use the RPG.