How do I help my child prepare for a school emergency?
As difficult as it may be to talk to your child about disasters and safety, making sure that students are prepared and know how to keep themselves safe is vital in emergency planning and preparation. Dr. Sarah Pelangka recommends aging the conversations appropriately to ensure that your child is a meaningful participant and can digest the information at a level that is accessible to them, and encourage them to ask questions. It can be helpful to use tools such as Social Stories, visual schedules (here’s an example), priming, using less threatening language, and a lot of repetition when it comes to talking about why it's happening and why we practice it.
Here are a few examples of stories that talk about lockdown drills:
- ALICE Social Story
- Our Lockdown Drill
- Why are We Having a Lockdown Drill?
- School Lock Down Drill Social Story
When it comes to practice, Dr. Pelangka says it’s a good idea to keep the drill as realistic as possible, making “almost like a muscle memory for them.” Asking the school for whatever resources they’re using and having copies at home can help maintain that consistency.
For more information about preparing your child for school emergencies, check out this article.