Kids & Tragedy: 5 Compassionate Tips to Help Children Cope With Tragedies Like School Shootings by DoingGoodTogether
When tragedies like school shootings strike, grief becomes a public burden. Though we’d rather shield our children from the headlines, this becomes difficult as they grow older. Part of raising compassionate, empathetic children is recognizing their heartbreak and responding to their questions. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Be proactive with older children. The moment you worry that your child will hear of a tragedy from someone else, it's time to talk. Children need to know they can rely on their parents for accurate, truthful information.
- Follow your child’s lead. Answer their questions, no more, no less. If they ask at an inopportune moment (public restrooms, etc.), set a specific time to follow up.
- Choose a book to guide your conversation. We've gathered a selection of children's books to guide your conversation about death and grief.
- Emphasize stability and routine. Keep family life as predictable as possible. Connect deliberately with friends and family. Linger over bedtime rituals.
- Reach out to the helpers. Visit local first responders with treats and a thank you card. You may even get a tour!
Mental health support is key during tragedies. If you or your child need additional help, seek out the guidance of a professional.
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