Lockdown: words from my four’ish year old


“Dada, today, we practiced lockdown,” my four’ish year-old says while rubbing her stuffed bunny’s ears between her fingers sitting in her car seat. “We have to hide in the cubby area if a bad guy comes.”

She also told me about riding bikes, and the dress-up area in her classroom.

How did I react?

“What happens when you’re in the cubby area,” was all I could muster up.

“You can climb under the cubby if you want. You know, the place where we put on our shoes.”

My emotions were swirling. Fear. Anger. Surprise. And, sadly, comfort – at least she has a bit of head start and knows where to go.


There is absolutely no way us 30-somethings had to “practice” these lock-downs as kids. In a world where mass-shootings in North America are not a surprise, but a matter of when, school boards from coast-to-coast have implemented lockdown policies. I guess it’s better be ready. Nobody would ever want four-year-olds practicing lock-downs – it’s a reality.

For my high-school teacher wife, lockdown prep has been common place for a while, but it now extends into kindergarten too – thanks Newtown.

I obviously understand the logic. Better to be prepared and for staff to know what to do. It’s the thought of this occurring that breaks my heart. Where would she go? Would she be scared? Would she be smart? Would she try and escape? Would she cry?

I didn’t engage further. I figured there is now way hammering home a point my kid can’t possibly appreciate the magnitude of would be of any value to her. So, that night, after I read her a story I asked: “does everyone hide in the cubby area if a bad guy comes?”

“Yes, and we’re not allowed to talk.”

I told her I loved her.

Author: Adam Grachnik

I am a 30-something father and husband, proudly raising my two little maniacs (girl and boy) in a happy suburban home in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

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