Tips on Talking to Kids about National Tragedies
The Alameda Unified School district website has a wealth of information on helping kids understand the news. Visit www.alameda.k12.ca.us for more tips like these.
Be understanding. Not everyone responds the same way in times of crisis. It’s common for children experiencing trauma to become more quiet or withdrawn, while others may become irritable or act out. Remember that these are all normal reactions. Respond in a calm and caring way.
Education is key. Discussing stress reactions and grief responses with kids can be very helpful during times of crisis. Identifying reactions and letting them know that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation, will provide a level of comfort.
Promote self-care. In time of crisis, many individuals become the caretakers of those most affected. These selfless acts of kindness are greatly appreciated, but adults must also remember to take care of themselves.
Have patience. Just as individuals may have varying responses in times of tragedy, they will also have different timeframes for healing. Try your best to be patient.
Follow-up. Check in periodically to make sure children are continuing to cope normally and do not need additional support.