Our collective hearts were broken this year on February 14th. Instead of a day full of love, the nation was shocked with the news of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Our children are frightened, as are we. How do we talk to our kids about these types of horrific events and how to move forward?
Elementary School Aged Children
In talking about this event with elementary-aged students, we recommend:
- Try to keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
- Limit exposure to television and the news.
- Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
- Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
- Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
- Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.
- Remind your kids to report strange behavior, possible threats and disturbing social media posts to an adult
- Give your children time to write or draw to release their energy and feelings
- Stories of great courage and benevolence arose from this tragedy – encourage your kids to look for and discuss the “heros” who risked their own lives and safety to help others.
- Aks your children to send cards or letters of condolences to the families affected by the shooting
- Brainstorm ways to honor and celebrate the victims to come up with a public service project.
The wisdom of the group is very important in this type of situation. We welcome you to share additional suggestions to help our children cope with these difficult situations.
resource: American School Counselor Association .