HOW TO TALK TO CHILDREN ABOUT TRAGIC EVENTS?

It’s important that we talk to our children about what happened in such situations.

Ask your children what they know about the event that occurred, how they feel about it, and explain to them that it’s completely normal to feel fear and anxiety.

To help children understand the situation, explain the event simply, as clearly as possible, and without details they cannot comprehend.

You as an adult should start the conversation. Even though they’ve encountered information and heard what happened in their surroundings, it’s important to communicate with the child in the right way about what exactly happened.

Ask your child what they know about what happened and what emotions they feel regarding the event.

Show and tell your child that it’s completely okay and normal to be scared. It’s also important to share your feelings, your sadness, and worry with your child so they feel safe to express their emotions.

Ensure a safe environment for your child, both verbally and non-verbally. Tell your child that adults are responsible for safety and that they are there to keep the children safe.

Tell your child that such tragedies happen very rarely, like floods, earthquakes, and other disasters.

Pay attention to possible signs of trauma in your child: changes in sleep patterns, appetite, school duties dynamics, level of agitation, intense fear, etc.

Family, friends, and teachers teach children how to deal with frustration, rejection, fears, etc. Adolescents significantly benefit from the support of pedagogically competent adults who provide a safe environment for them to develop a healthy self-image, emotional literacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

In this way, we teach children and youth to cope with everyday situations, frustration, and to healthily express their anger, sadness, and/or to openly talk about situations that make the child feel bad.

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