advice on talking to kids about mass shootings

Advice on talking to kids about mass shootings

It is beyond unfortunate that acts of violence seem to be more and more common in society these days. Children should have conversations with trusted adults to answer their questions and calm any anxiety. In the following, we’d like to offer some advice on talking to kids about mass shootings.

When they ask what happened:

1. Ask them what they know and understand first about what happened. You’ll want to clear up misunderstandings and quell any scary rumors.

2. Tell them the truth. Take your cues from the child when deciding how much info to provide by asking them what they want to know. Provide simple but accurate answers to their current question using language they understand. After your response, ask them about their concerns. Kids may not be worried about the same things you are, so listen to learn what they need.

3. Assure them they are safe. Acknowledge that being concerned is a normal feeling. Let them know the government, police, schools and community members are taking steps to protect us.

4. Limit or avoid exposure to graphic images and media immediately after a crisis event. Understanding what happened is helpful; being overwhelmed with continuous coverage is not.

 

For more information, we recommend visiting www.schoolcrisiscenter.org. The information above was referenced from USC School of Social Work’s National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, pdf: https://www.schoolcrisiscenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Guidelines-Talking-to-Kids-About-Tragedies.pdf