Tips for Talking To Your Kids in the Aftermath of Another Mass Shooting
by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, author Lockdown: Talking To Your Kids About School Violence
1. Turn off the news! Pay attention to what your kids are watching and listening to!
2. Be the Positive role model. Be calm and in control when you talk about gun violence, mass shootings and lockdown drills.
3. Reassure your child that they are safe. That although this did happen, millions of children stay safe at school everyday.
4. Be Honest! If they ask direct questions, don’t pretend the event did not occur.
5. Spend extra time with your children today and in the coming days. Do a special project together, take a walk or just be with them.
6. Choose family time over spending time on your technology. Make this time to celebrate life, family and your community.
7. Create opportunities for your kids to give back to the community. When we concentrate on the needs of others, we lower our stress levels. We feel part of our bigger community and we create space for joy.
8. Prayer! Say a Prayer for the children and their
family. If you are not religious, recite a poem or make up a prayer with your kids. The act of prayer creates a sense of hope and creates a ritual helps establish a foundation to help your kids heal and process their emotions.
9. Keep your kids close to you, if that is what they need. If they want to sleep in your bed – suggest a slumber party on the floor of your bedroom.
10. Respect your child and their feelings! Acknowledge their fears, sadness and needs. Pay attention to behaviors such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, escalation of fears, loss of appetite, unexplained anger and increased anxiety. Don't be afraid to seek help.
11. Help Your Children Heal! Give them a way to express their feelings! Give your kids paper and crayons to help them express their thoughts. Or give them modeling clay or playdough to express their emotions.
12. Take a moment for your Yourself to Breathe and have Gratitude for all that you have in your life. When we come from a place of Gratitude, life’s journey is a little bit easier.
Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT
Child, Adolescent and Family Psuchotherapist
Author, LOCKDOWN: Talking To Your Kids About School Violence