How To Talk To Kids About School Safety

It’s hard not to get emotional when I talk about school safety with my eldest. Shooters are not something our generation had to think about as small children, and I know I’m not alone in being scared for him. He needs to be prepared, but I don’t want to make him feel like school is a dangerous place. 

Michelle Gay of Safe and Sound Schools and Amanda Klinger from Educator’s School Safety Network offer sound advice. Focus on the positive—not “these are dangerous situations” but “these are the places and people in school who are safe.” Similarly, focusing on explaining the specific terrifying threats isn’t necessary, because skills like listening to the teacher and keeping quiet apply in many different situations.

Repetition and age-appropriate play helps too. Remember in your talks with your child that which dangers you focus on depend on your specific situation, and intruders are a very very small part of that. In the end, school safety skills are life skills just like knowing to look both ways when crossing the street, and if we think of them that way, they’re much less scary.

Key takeaways:

—Focus on the positives and talk about ways to stay safe.

—School safety includes plans for fire, earthquakes, and tornadoes—not just intruders.

—School safety skills are everyday life skills.

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Becky Patouhas, social media specialist, has been a babywearing educator since 2013. Her favorite part of her job is a tie between seeing all the cute baby pictures and helping parents get that “I can’t believe I can hold my baby AND eat!” moment. A first-generation American and mom of two small boys, she and her family live in Michigan, where she enjoys volunteering with her local babywearing group. Becky loves her Zypora meh dais (she has two!) because they’re so cushy on her shoulders. She always has a Lightly Padded ring sling in her purse because she loves the soft padding, and she thinks Isle of Skye is the best colorway out there!

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