Helping Children Cope with a National Tragedy

Helping Children Cope with a National Tragedy

Oct 02, 2017

With the recent tragic mass shooting incident in Las Vegas, children of all ages may need support in understanding and coping with the information that will be saturating the news media in these ensuing weeks. He or she may voice concern about lack of safety in public places and become worried and anxious. It is important for adults to respond in a caring and supportive way. Here are some tips for educators and parents when talking with kids about the tragedy:

  • Reassure them that you are there for them, and your highest priority is to keep them safe.
  • Validate their feelings and remind them that it’s okay to feel scared and sad.
  • Remind them that there are many, many good people in this world, and these people are working to keep people safe and prevent these things from occurring again.
  • Tell the truth, but reinforce to them that shootings and attacks like this are very unlikely to happen to them and their community.
  • Protect young children from graphic footage and broadcasts by minimizing their exposure to much of the media coverage.
  • Focus on things that families and communities can do to send their support and help (donating money or time, sending letters and cards to survivors and their families, etc.)


Mayo Clinic has provided some age-related parenting tips when talking with children:

Elementary and Early Middle School children.

Children in this age range might have more questions about whether they’re truly safe. They might need help separating fantasy from reality.


Upper Middle School and High School children.

Older children will want more information about the tragedy and recovery efforts. They’re more likely to have strong opinions about the causes, as well as suggestions about how to prevent tragedies and a desire to help those affected.

Taken from “Helping Children Cope: Tips for Talking about Tragedy.” www.mayoclinic.org



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