After the lockdown or drill: Talk to your child
When you talk to your child after an emergency, your questions, comments and tone will make a big difference. Consider the following steps to help your child process:
- Ask your child what they know about the emergency. You may find that they know very little and are not trying to find out more. That’s okay!
- Ask what your child’s teacher did to keep everyone safe. Maybe it’s locking doors, turning off lights, being quiet. Most importantly it focuses the conversation on the actions that adults took to keep them safe.
- Talk about the “helpers” who kept everyone safe. These may be the teachers and staff, emergency responders or others. Talk about how brave these people are in their work to keep others safe.
- Ask how your child felt during the emergency, and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel that way (scared, nervous, anxious, etc.). Ask how he or she is feeling now, and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel that way, too.
- Watch for any lingering signs of stress over the following days and weeks. Anxiety about school, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping, or any behavior that is out of the ordinary – these may mean that your child still needs help healing from the trauma of the crisis. We can help.
After a school emergency, keep in mind that your child may or may not know a lot about what happened during the lockdown. Follow your child’s lead about the information he or she knows or wants, and contact the school if your child would benefit from the support of a counselor or WRAP worker as they process their feelings and fears.