I have talked to many moms throughout the day in person and on line, we are all shook up after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Knowing the best thing to do and say is hard.
Featured on Oprah, Today, Dr. Phil, and more, Dr. Susan Lipkins is a psychologiest and nationally recognized exptert in traumatic issues for kids and teens. Dr. Lipkins offers tips for famalies that have been affected by the school shooting or other tradegy below.
How to Help Your Child After a Tragedy like a School Shooting
- Be as calm as possible with your kids, they will copy your behavior. Create a safety zone for your family, if you act like you are in control, your kids will feel safe. I you act scared, they will too.
- Ask your kids what they know about the event. Encourage your child to talk or even express themselves through drawing, telling you a story, etc to allow them to express their thoughts and feelings.
- Answer your kids questions but don’t elaborate. After your discussion,reassure your child that they are safe, that your family is safe, that their school is safe, and that your community is safe.
- Get back into your routine as soon as possible, routines help people feel secure. Kids (and adults) do better when life is routine and predictable.
- Expect issues to arise. Your child may have trouble sleeping and have nightmares that wake them up. They may not want to be left alone at home, at school, or anywhere. Your child may develop belly aches and headaches often, an expression of anxiety. Their behaviors may change to include crying, irritability, and hyperactivity. If these issues continue past 3 weeks or if they affect their ability to function, contact their doctor.
- Young kids cannot understand death and may repeatedly ask questions or not talk about it at all. Help them discuss their feelings by playing, drawing, reading, and talking. Be open with your child.
- If your child has special needs, emotional or learning issues, they may have a harder time processing and dealing with tragedy. If your child is having a hard time dealing with the tragedy, seek their doctor.