How to Talk to Your Child about Tragic Events

In times of tragedy and chaos some of us want to not think about the situation, and they do not want to talk about it either. Brushing it under the rug is not healthy emotionally or psychologically. When it comes to our children, it is important to have an open dialogue to discuss feelings. Most school age children will hear about the happenings at school or from a friend or online. It is important that they get their information from you, the parent, in case the details they get elsewhere are not accurate or upsetting and so that you can set the proper emotional tone.

Conversations should be had using a calm and level tone of voice and should be tailored to meet your child’s age and emotional maturity. In general, children under 12 should not watch the news because of the sometimes dramatic delivery and graphic images. You do not need to go into details about how many attackers there were or how many people were injured or killed. Instead give generalities about what happened. If your child asks you direct questions, then be prepared to answer them in a way that is clear, simple, and easy to understand.

Let your kids know that our country, their school, your family, etc. all have safety plans in place to help keep people safe. Talk with them with the intent of reassuring them so that they do not have to be anxious.

Remind your children that it is important to continue to go on with their life, go to school, see friends, etc.


Source: Dr. Stacy Kaiser