As parents, we want to keep our children safe in any way possible that we can. We read the papers, we listen to the news, we hear the sirens each and every time they pass by on the street and we are aware of the factors of the world that can be unsafe for our children.
While the world doesn’t need to be portrayed as an unsafe place for your child to grow in, it is important to make certain that they are educated on ways that they should and can be safe. One of the main areas that consume the majority of their days is school. They spend about 40 hours per week there so discussing school safety with your child is extremely important. So here is how you can open a meaningful dialogue with them.
5 Ways to Talk to Your Child about School Safety
- Talk to them about their day and the things that made them feel safe, unsafe or uncomfortable. It’s important to consider both sides of the spectrum rather than focus on negativity and use it as a natural way to improve communication overall. Most of us try to talk to our kids about their day but make sure there is a focus on how they felt, and if they felt unsafe, how was (or can this be) addressed.
- Give them example scenarios of what would be considered unsafe at their school. Let’s face it, sometimes during conversations that are one-sided each and every one of us can be guilty of “zoning” out while the other person is dominating the conversation. To make certain that your child is listening to what you have to say, try to have an interactive conversation that they can be a part of. Give them an example of an unsafe situation that could occur at school, and then ask them their thoughts. Then, ask them to talk about something at their school that they would view as unsafe as well. Help them to understand what to look for at their school to be better prepared and how they might have reacted! Do some role-play and be immersive.
- Ask them if their school has a safety plan in place in case of an emergency. Many schools have drills now during the school days that help children know how to react to different types of unsafe situations. Find out if they know the plan, and let them explain the process to you so it’s fresh in their minds as well.
- Let your child ask questions and don’t shy away from them just because they are difficult. Children have the habit of asking the tough questions so don’t lie to them. If you don’t know the answer, tell them that and find out some answers for yourself. Allowing your kids to ask you questions not only promotes independence and confidence but makes them comfortable coming to you for things.
- Use learning tools to help address tough topics. If you find that you don’t have the words yourself to express thoughts and emotions about talking to your child about school safety, head to the local library and see what options they have on their shelves that you can read to your child, or have them read on their own. Using resources to talk about a topic or to reiterate the importance of a topic is fine! That’s why there are so many educational resources available to use when needed.
Talking to your children about school safety needs to be at the top of your priority list. Communicate with them based on their thoughts, their emotions, and what they have been taught at school to do in regards of a safety concern. If your child has questions, let them know that they can ask you anything that they want to know. When they open up to you, be prepared to stop what you are doing, listen, and be supportive of them. Helping them feel safe is a great way for them to keep those lines of communication open with you!