How to Talk to Kids about School Bomb Threats and Evacuations
School bomb threats are happening all around the country at the moment and it’s frightening. If your child’s school has been targeted you may be dealing with emotions of fear, anger and frustration. It’s important to think about how you portray those emotions when discussing bomb threats with your child, who will be feeling and hearing all sorts of things too!
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Let your child talk about how they are feeling
Let your child talk about what they’ve heard and stop to listen closely. They may have heard incorrect or exaggerated information about what’s been happening in schools. They may also be hearing language that is new to their ears, like ‘terrorism’ and ‘hoax’. Gently answer their questions without imposing your own fears.
2. Now is the time to reiterate the importance of rules
Remind your child that school rules are in place for a reason. Reinforce why you need to listen to your teacher and follow their instructions carefully. Talk about the reasons why schools have evacuation rehearsals and how important it is to take these seriously.
3. Give your child reassurance
Every child will react differently. Those who have had bomb threats in their school may be scared to return or quite upset that their school was targeted. Reassure your child that all schools have action plans in place should something go wrong. Remind them a teacher will always make the safety of his/her students, paramount.
4. Turn off the news
While it may be tempting to keep the news on TV so you can stay up to date, be aware that the news is not in ‘child-speak’. It is not interactive and it doesn’t allow for children to have a conversation or ask questions. You are better off having a chat with your child, so that you have the power to expose as much or as little as you see fit, depending on how they are handling the situation. They may not like to be reminded of the event.
Above all us, it’s important to stay calm but not be too complacent. Listen to how your child is feeling and gently remind them the importance of listening and following instructions. There’s no such thing as being too safe! For a list of school closures both in relation to school bomb threats, serious weather events or other reasons click here to visit the Department of Education & Traning’s updated lists.