helping children through national tragedy

Once again, our nation faces a tragedy of unfathomable proportions. With technology and social media being what they are, your young children will undoubtedly hear about the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Please take note of these simple guidelines for talking about a very difficult issue.

1. Assure your children they can talk with you about anything, no matter how uncomfortable or frightening.

2. Because elementary age children cannot understand nuances or generalities, it's important to ASSURE THEM THEY ARE SAFE.

3. TURN OFF THE TELEVISION and other sources of media. Seeing the images and hearing the news can traumatize children repeatedly because they don't often understand that it's not happening over and over again.

4. Adults and older children should avoid rehashing the details of the events in front of younger children.

5. Spend time with your children doing what they want to do: play games, do crafts, get outside. Enjoy each other.

6. Keep basic routines normal; children thrive in structure and familiarity and may become more frightened when their routines change.

7. Allow your children to have and enjoy the holiday season as they normally would. Decorate the tree. Wrap presents. Watch holiday movies.

8. Hold your children. Tell them how much you love them.

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