Saturday, March 11, 2017

Explaining Without Scaring

A few weeks ago, Reagan's preschool had "community helper" week. They had visits from a policeman, a fireman, an EMT, and other community helpers.

As any preschool parent can attest, this has heightened Reagan's awareness of these community helpers in our daily travels. She keeps a sharp eye out for uniforms, emergency vehicles, and anything else that would indication that someone is ready to assist.

Unfortunately, despite the education on everything the police force does, the preschoolers, like most preschoolers, focused solely on the "bad guy" aspect. Whenever Reagan sees a police car, she shakes her head sadly and says "there must be a bad guy."

Well, last week we had to pull over several times to let emergency vehicles by. Since Reagan was so interested in the vehicles themselves, I took the opportunity to teach about WHY we pull over to let the emergency cars pass. While Reagan was insistent that there must be a lot of bad guys that the police were rushing to stop, I speculated that it was probably a car accident.

Sure enough, as we continued, we saw that it was, quite clearly, an accident on a main road. Reagan seemed a little disappointed by the absence of any superhero-ish bad guy/good guy standoffs (don't judge, we're still in a superhero phase), Madison immediately started in on how worried she was, and how sad she was, and how horrible it must be to be in a car accident. She was so glad that I am "the best driver" and it would never happen to us.

And then I had to explain that I had in fact been in accidents. One that was my fault, one that wasn't, and one that was the fault of a deer (literally, the deer hit me). Madison started to panic, and I let her know that accidents happen. You do your best to avoid them, but sometimes, they do happen, and it's more important to know what to do.

Reagan piped up and told us that the firemen had taught them how to be safe, but they also taught them what to do in case of a fire. And I pointed out that we know how to try and stay safe, but that if there ever IS a problem, we know how to react and how to get in touch with our community helpers.

What if we get hurt?
What if there's a fire?
What if someone is acting tricky to us and we feel scared?

It's a fine line. I don't want the girls to be scared - to see a world full of fires and car accidents and ambulance rides and people lurking in the shadows to snatch them. But I do want them to know that there are people out there to help them, and that we can get through things together.
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