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On Parenting
Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 10/04/2011

Teaching a 4-year-old how to respond in an emergency

From elsewhere in The Post: When a 4-year-old girl starts asking what happens if the house catches on fire, or a tornado comes hey way, her parent reaches out to Family Almanac columnist Marguerite Kelly for advice.

“We try to give simple answers to her but when we ask what she would do, she tells us that she is a fairy and that she would simply fly away or become invisible. Usually I just say, “Really? Can a fairy put out a fire?” but nothing more because I don’t want to make her anxious. However, I worry that she won’t know how to respond if she is ever in a real emergency and I wonder if we should teach emergency procedures to her, like “stop, drop and roll” or tell her to get help from another mom with children if we ever got separated at the store,” says the letter writer.

Kelly assures this parent that if a 4-year-old thinks a fairy can put out a fire, let her continue to have this fantasy; but the parent should also explain other options for escaping a disaster if fairy dust is not available.

“You can, however, tell your child that you’ve lost your fairy dust somewhere but if there were a fire, you’d have to stop what you’re doing, drop to the floor and roll around — preferably in a rug — to put out the fire,” Kelly says. “If an earthquake were coming however, you’d go outside or brace yourself in a doorway, and if it were a tornado, you would go down to the basement or to the bathroom where things are bolted to the floor. And if a snake were coming your way? You’d start running and you wouldn’t stop for a long, long time.”

By On Parenting  |  12:49 PM ET, 10/04/2011

Tags:  Family Almanac

 
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