Talking to your kids about school shootings

As a country we are once again shaken to our core because a horrific event has happened, another school shooting. I’m writing as both a parent educator and as a mom to help you help your children understand the unthinkable.

The shooting in Conneticut reminds me of the 9/11 attacks when my children were only 9, 7 and 3 1/2 and I found myself feeling sad, angry and numb. “Things like this don’t happen in our country, in our community” was my thought during the 9/11 event, the shootings in Columbine, in movie theaters and shopping malls.

How adults react matters...

For many of us, the 9/11 attacks were the first time national news truly caused anxiety for our kids. I remember watching the newscasts trying to gather as much information as I could before the kids came home from school, from that point on the tv was off. My oldest reported that her teachers told her class about the attacks and reassured them that it was far away from where we live. Teachers also shared that there are many, many brave and smart people working to find out what happened and devoted to keeping us safe, what a reassuring thought for young kids.

As time went on the kids asked about tidbits of information they heard on the playground, from adults talking to each other, and from what they heard on tv. I tried to shelter them from most of the newscasts, it made me depressed and I couldn’t imagine what it would to do children so young. Keeping them on their daily routine, not exhausting them with information and keeping things as "normal" as we could did help.