How to Talk to Your Kids About Tragedy
Mom, what happened? Mom, why are you crying? How do I answer my son's questions? Here's a start.
If you want a professional's opinion, take a look at the following suggestions:
- Limit media exposure. Think about how exhausted we all are and how many questions we have after watching wall-to-wall coverage of the events. Magnify that and add a curious brain to the mix. Keep a consistent routine to reduce fear and, if possible, don't tell kids 5 and under. (source: Parenting 2.0: Think in the Future, Act in the Now)
- Be truthful. In order to feel secure, children need to understand what's happening around them. Let them know they're safe and that you're doing everything around you to make sure it stays that way. Don't offer false truths, however. (source: Dr. Glenn Saxe, who is also director of the NYU Child Study Center.)
- Encourage questions. Even if it's not in the moment or hours after, make sure you remain open to questions later on.