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How to talk to your kids about active shooter drills

Posted at 2:30 AM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 06:31:51-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Many kids this year will be exposed to active shooter drills in Tampa Bay area schools.

Experts say these drills often cause anxiety in students. That is why it is so important to talk to them about how the drills work.

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"Just like anything else we have, fire drills, all sorts of drills and this is just another thing that is implemented to keep them safe, " says Dr. Allison Haig, Psychologist at Tampa Jewish Family Services.

Dr. Haig says talking to your child about these types of drills and how they're designed to keep them safe is an important conversation to have.

How you exactly talk to your child will depend on their age. breaks down suggestions for your conversations into three groups based on a child's grade: K-2, 3-6 and 7-12.

“If you can get ahead of the anxiety, then kids feel more in control,” explains Dr. Jamie Howard, clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “They know that the teachers have a plan, and the whole thing can make them feel quite safe.”

Experts and teachers both agree that being honest and factual with your children is best and you can leave out specific details on active shooter drills with younger kids.