- Even if your child seems more curious than scared or anxious when he asks you about the incident, reassurance is essential. It may take some time for him to really process the information and the feelings it evokes for him.
- If she is clearly upset and scared help refocus her emotions. Suggest an age appropriate project you can do with her to help her manage. Perhaps she can make a drawing or a collage of happy things for the kids at the school or write a letter in support of them.
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- Don’t be afraid to let your child know that you too feel sad. He takes his cues from you. If he expresses that he is scared or even afraid to go to his school, let him know you understand why he feels this way. Reassure him that his school is safe and that because of these events all schools will be making even greater efforts to remain safe.
- Do not act hysterical or terrified in front of her. These events are difficult for everyone to manage but as mentioned she does take her cues from you. If you express overwhelming fear or anxiety she may react in kind.
- Go out of your way to make some family time. Tragedies such as this one remind us how lucky we are. Forget about folding the laundry or making that call, there will be time later. Take a moment to enjoy your family. The attention, love and sense of security you impart to them is priceless.
The AAP offers resources for talking to children about disasters, and advice on watching for signs of stress and trauma. Check here for details.
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