On Friday, December 14, our country was turned upside down by yet another senseless act of violence. The Washington Teachers’ Union sends our condolences to the loved ones of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.
With such widespread coverage of the shootings, it’s nearly impossible for our young children to avoid the heart-wrenching images and story details. How do we begin to explain this tragedy to them when we as adults can’t understand it?
There is no cookie cutter, tried and true method for helping kids cope with tragedies and school violence, but we’ve compiled some resources that will hopefully give you a place to start:
From the AFT:
The American Federation of Teachers provides tips for preventing and dealing with school violence, as well as resources on talking to children about violent incidents, the death of a student or educator, and more.
David Schonfeld, MD, Director, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center provides tips to help adults talk with children about the shooting.
How to Talk to Your Kids About School Violence (NBC)
NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke with Brian Williams about talking with your children regarding violence in schools. A brief overview of tips accompanies the video.
View Violence Through Your Child’s Eyes (PBS Parents)
PBS Parents produced this package, which focuses on providing kids context for the news. Strategies for soothing and communicating with children following tragedies covered by the media are also included.
Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
Tips, strategies, and impactful ways for parents to talk with their children about tragedies is covered in this article from Common Sense Media.
Here for Each Other: Helping Families After An Emergency (Sesame Workshop)
This Sesame Workshop resource for parents and caregivers provides an outline for responding to tragedy, including communication tips and strategies for support.
Helping Teens Cope: A Guide for Parents (NYU Child Study Center)
New York University’s Child Study Center produced this guide for parents, which provides advice for helping teens cope with school violence.
Resources: Talking and Teaching About the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (New York Times Learning Network)
A thorough list of links to New York Times content for teaching students about tragic events, as well as links to sources across the Web.
Children’s Mental Health After the Shooting in Newtown
Tips from Eva Alisic, Ph.D. of the National Psychotrauma Center for Children and Youth and Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., medical director of the NYS Office of Mental Health.
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic EventTips from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.