Helping your children in the wake of the latest school shooting

It’s amazing how routine it’s become to hear news of violence that affects children. Does news of yet another school shooting still affect you quite the same way it did when we heard about Sandy Hook?

If so, our first reaction on hearing the latest is to hug our children tightly. If not, if you’ve grown numb, keep in mind that young children who hear about it are learning of such things for the first time. And it’s hard to think they won’t learn about it without some extra consciousness on your part.

Because in the days and weeks that ahead, children will be exposed again and again to replays of the scary images from the original event. They will seek to understand what they see and hear, trying to put it into the context of what they know about the normal and expected.

The amount of information children need from parents in such situations differs depending on the child and, of course, his or her age. Here are a few resources to help talk with your children about recent news of school violence.

Blog post from The Hanna Perkins Grandmothers: Some insight into the questions children really have – though they may have trouble finding the right words. And how to answer those questions simply and lovingly.

Another perspective by Shari Nascon on talking to your kids when they hear of tragic news that in some way hits close to home.

Article from the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood:  A three-part approach to talking with children about school violence …

  1. Protecting and supporting
  2. Discussing
  3. Individualizing

… and how to put it into practical use.

Fred Rogers’ advice on how to talk about tragic events in the news: An excerpt from Mr. Rogers’ last book before his 2003 death, offering practical suggestions for helping your children navigate news of the tragedy.

 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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