The horrible shooting at a Connecticut elementary school affected each of us in a deeply personal way. It stirred an array of emotions and fears.
This is especially true for young people, who process information and react differently. They may be more frightened than adults may know.
What’s more, those too young to fully understand what happened might conger up some very scary ideas about the tragedy and the results of it all.
Here are some ways that experts have recommended parents can help their children through times of potential stress:
• Limit the amount of time children spend watching continuing reports about the tragedy.
• Reassure children that most schools are very safe places to be.
• Watch for signs that your child is overly upset. Changes in behavior, sleep patterns, or school performance could be a signal.
• Encourage children to talk about what they feel. This way you can clarify any misperceptions and help place the information in perspective.
Ignoring the subject will not make a child’s reactions go away. Encourage the expression of emotions through drawing, or acting out emotions. Answer their questions directly and honestly.
Mostly, do all you can to help your child feel secure and loved.