As many of you already know, something unthinkable and tragic happened in Connecticut on Friday, December 14th. This unthinkable, unbearable situation will be discussed on the news and various television programs for weeks and months to come. Because of the nature of the 24-hour news cycle and the multiple ways that information can be accessed in our culture, here are some ideas on how to help your kids manage this unsettling information:
I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful.
- Limit the amount of exposure your children have to TV and internet access to news and information about what occurred. Know what they are watching and listening to, and turn the TV or computer off if necessary.
- If your child asks you a question you’re not sure how to answer, ask the child for more information. Let the child talk. Let him or her tell you what the fear or anxiety is. Encourage communication by listening to them.
- Keep the children in their routine. Routine builds a feeling of safety, confidence, and self esteem for children. Routines include bedtime, mealtimes, church, school, sports and activities like this.
- Offer reassurance, and let your children know that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe.
- Model behaviors for your children. Our kids learn so much just by watching our own behaviors and how we handle situations like this.
- Teach compassion to your kids by reflecting on what’s happened in age-appropriate ways to them.
- Pray for the victims and their families with your family.
Karen Bermel LIMHP, MC is a mental-health provider with Alegent Creighton Health. A version of this story first appeared on the Alegent Creighton Wellness blog.