Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Practically every year, we set a record for the number of school shootings. Kids everywhere – young children and teens alike – are hearing about these incidents on a daily basis. That means it’s up to you as a parent to talk to your kids about active shooter scenarios and what to do during them. 

Being mentally prepared for a dangerous situation increases your child’s likelihood of survival. One of the things that work against a person in an active shooter scenario is the brain’s normalcy bias. In a crisis, a person will freeze because it takes a while for the mind to adjust to the fact that there are gunshots going off. Mental preparation prevents that normalcy bias, so your child reacts to danger in a timelier manner. 

Read on for some tips from Mommy Warrior Lady to help prepare your child – and you – for the worst.

Safety in the Home

If you are going to talk to your kids about what to do in an active shooter situation, the first place to cover is the home. Parents magazine suggests talking to your children about proper gun safety and making sure they do not have access to any firearms you may keep in the house. Furthermore, create a family emergency plan in case anything was to happen in the house.

  • Save emergency contacts both in phones and written down and stored in a location your children can easily access.

  • Put together a first aid kit and have everyone become first aid certified. Also, consider babysitting and CPR courses while you are at it. Knowing how to be prepared for everything helps break bias no matter the emergency situation.

  • Have a designated neighbor your children can go to in case they can’t access you. Come up with specific code words that they can use in dangerous situations.

  • Teach kids never to handle guns without adult supervision. If they see a gun that isn’t secure, have them come get you. Instruct them not to touch the gun ever.

Run, Hide, Fight 

No matter where an active shooting occurs, a person has three options as reactions: run, hide, and fight. Talk to your kids about each option. If there is an active shooter, your child is safest the farther he or she gets from the person with the gun. Teach your kids that their first reaction to hearing gunshots should be to run as far away from the sound as possible. Of course, their safety is likely situational. Sometimes it is safer to hide, especially if there is a secure place to do so, like a panic room. There may not be an escape route, another case in which hiding is a better option than running. The third option, fight, is always the absolute last option. 

Your child’s school also has its own protocol that serves in your child’s best interests and overall safety in the case of an active shooter. Insider points out that while your child should know the run, hide, fight mantra, they should always listen to authority figures at school. Talk to your children about keeping a cool head under stress, evaluating situations before acting, and the importance of following leadership to ensure they make safe decisions in an active shooter situation.

Remember that shootings can happen anywhere from schools to movie theaters to any workplace. While no single security measure or strategy can prevent all workplace violence, adequate employee training and a solid plan for safety can prevent most cases. So, if your child has a job, ask them what preparations their workplace has made for their safety.

It’s not easy talking about this with children. We all wish we lived in a world where our kids didn’t have to fear gun violence. However, the statistics don’t lie. Mass shootings and school shootings are happening all around the country. If your child knows what to do in one of these emergencies, they will have better chances of surviving if it happens in your community.

For more great articles about raising children, visit Mommy Warrior Lady today!