As parents and educators we want to keep our children safe and away from harm, but what happens when the world we live in isn’t always safe? How can we make children feel safe, while being honest with them? How can you possible explain to a child why bad things happen? We at Ivy Prep believe that these conversations are best had with children by immediate family members rather than in a group classroom setting, because just as every child learns different, ever child finds comfort differently as well. In light of the recent events in our City questions may arise while at school. Each of our teachers has been trained to address your child’s feelings and make them feel safe while in the classroom.
When at home if these fears arise we have some tips on how you can discuss this very difficult topic with your children.
1. Find out what they know – Children hear and see so much. Another child may have said something to them, they may have seen the television or picture in a newspaper. The best way to start the conversation is to see what they have heard.
2. Be Honest – It is ok to acknowledge that something bad and scary happened and that we don’t know if it will happen again, those things are not in our control. We do have things that are in our control that we do to keep us safe and focusing on things can bring peace of mind to your little one.
3. Acknowledge and support your child’s feelings – When they ask questions let them know that those questions are good and important. Do not dismiss the fears they have, but be reassuring.
4. Be consistent in your responses – There is a good chance that you will get the same questions multiple times over the next few days, weeks, or even months.
5. Use age appropriate words and concepts – allowing a 3 or 4 year old to watch the news could cause confusion and
panic for them. Consider your child’s age prior to having this discussion and try not to overload them with information.
6. Be an example of how to cope- I am sure we all felt scared upon hearing of the events of the weekend, but what made us feel safe enough to start our Monday as we would any other? Maybe the thought of all the people working to keep us safe.
7. Leave out the religion and politics – You do not have to give children more information that they are asking for and this information can be confusing for them.
8. “Look for the helpers” – Mr. Rogers gives us the greatest advice on this topic. Even when bad things happen there are good people that are working to keep us safe.
Lastly, to all our families remember our open door policy. This applies not only to stopping in to see your child, but if you need minute to process or someone to listen to your concerns do not hesitate to come to us. We are all in this together as a school and as a part of this community.