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Safety drills, social media woes and summer journaling

Ask the Teacher


June 2014

I don't understand why my second grader does so many drills for fire, tornado and lockdown. Is all of this practice worth scaring the kids?

Schools are mandated by their states to carry out a certain number of practice drills annually with the express goal of protecting children in an emergency, just as flight attendants must teach evacuation procedures every flight. School personnel are trained to teach children a clear procedure to follow that has been developed by safety experts. Ongoing studies render changes in positioning or approach based on the greatest degree of safety, requiring additional practice and discussion. Learning to execute these procedures in an orderly, systematic way is critical to a child's safety should a true emergency occur.

If the reassurance you and your child's teacher provide does not help ease your child's fears, discuss a strategy with the school counselor. In a case of excessive anxiety, a child can be prepared ahead of time that a drill will occur and when – removing the element of surprise. That may help alleviate some worry. A special placement near the teacher might be arranged to help your child feel better.

My daughter is in seventh grade. She and her friends are in constant communication via social media. This is causing so many problems in her circle of friends and even in how much rest she gets at night. What can I do to help?

Girls at this age have always had friendship struggles; social media multiplies those problems. In the past, what might have been passed to one person in a note and lost the next day is now made available to countless others and may be impossible to remove from public perusal. Because you only have direct control over your daughter, it is essential that you discuss her responsibilities as a person in today's technological world. Explain that she should consider everything she posts as being published on a huge billboard. As adults we know that it is easy for someone to share a post that was intended to be personal when kids are at odds with one another. However, your daughter may be defensive of her friends, convinced that they would never do anything like that. To avoid questioning their loyalty to one another, stress instead that someone could share something inadvertently. The intention is irrelevant; the result is the same. Consider joining forces with the other mothers of your daughter's friends. Presenting a united front will result in a greater impact on the entire group.

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Tags: Ask the Teacher, Education, In This Issue

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