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How To Talk To Kids About Safety After Senseless Shootings­­­

In light of the mass shootings happening across America, Adam Coughran, president of Safe Kinds Inc., shares tips on how to talk to kids about them. It's upsetting that society has come to the point where young children have to learn about gun safety, but it’s something that must be taught to them even if the conversation is hard. With some tips from a safety expert, parents and caregivers can give the talk more gently.

Last weekend marked another round of mass shootings in the country. A shooter in El Paso, Texas killed 22 people, and one in Dayton, Ohio claimed another nine lives. The victims were people of all ages and backgrounds; some people lost their children, while others lost grandparents or parents. The youngest one in El Paso to lose their life to a bullet was 15 years-old.

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Coughran wants to encourage parents and caretakers to have a conversation with their kids about gun safety. He even believes that the younger they are, the better. It’s important for them to know that there are people in the world who are harmful, and they shouldn’t expect everyone to be kind all the time. It’s also essential for them to know what kind of crowds or noises to avoid (loud bangs, jitters in the crowd, etc.) and what to do if someone yells “active shooter!” in a public space.

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To avoid making the conversation so grim, Coughran recommends that parents present the issue in terms kids understand: through storytelling. You can choose to liken it to their favourite stories involving villains and heroes so that they are able to fully grasp the situation. Gun violence is hard for a child to understand, so presenting a story with a good and bad side may be helpful for their understanding.

Another thing that may help is teaching your kids that sometimes it may be helpful to break the rules. If they’re taught no to run in the hallway or separate from their parents, then they may hesitate if they’re caught in a shooting. They should know that they have the permission to break such rules in emergency situations, and they’re allowed to listen to their instinctual responses to danger.

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