Liz Pearce, Director of Parent Engagement
Children’s Museum of Richmond
When children see frightening news stories on TV, such as the recent reports of the school violence in Ohio and Washington state, reassurance is the key to helping children through a fearful time. Answer questions about the news honestly, but don’t dwell on alarming details or allow the subject to dominate family time indefinitely.
This is a perfect time to use active listening by giving your full attention to the child and refraining from giving advice, disagreeing or judging.
Some parents wonder if they should discuss emergency plans with their children, such as what to do if a gun is seen at school. This will depend on the age and maturity of the child, and the situation of the school they attend. Parents may wish to check with the school to determine if an emergency plan is in place.
Acknowledge that you too may have reactions associated with the traumatic event, and take steps to promote your own physical and emotional health. Find a friend to talk through your feelings with, and revisit your own emergency plan.
Lastly, give the children in your life an extra hug – today.