Dear Parents and Guardians:
As we all work through our emotions over the terrible shooting Tuesday at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, we’d like to provide some ideas for families on how to help children cope with a tragedy such as this.
Please remember that even when you are overwhelmed, unsure of what to say, or are struggling, you are just what the child in your life needs and you are enough.
For Elementary Kids:
Talking with Children About Difficult Things in the News (Fred Rogers Institute)
💞 When the world feels uncertain and the news is scary, we can help children feel safe by letting children know we will always care for them and love them, no matter what.
📺 Be mindful of what children hear and see on the news. Children can overhear media and conversations that are not intended for them. It is best that they learn from a trusted adult, through meaningful and intentional conversations.
🗣 Let children know you are always open to their questions. Before you answer, it can help to ask the child, “What do you think?” or “What have you heard?” Sometimes, children may understand more than we realize, may have misinformation, or may have a much simpler question than we assume. If you know more about what the child is wondering, it can help you give a simple and honest answer.
For Tweens and Teens:
Talking to Children About the Shooting (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
👩👦Start the conversation. Talk about the shooting with your child. Not talking about it can make the event even more threatening in your child’s mind. Silence suggests that what has occurred is too horrible even to speak about or that you do not know what has happened. What does your child already know? As your child explains, listen for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears or concerns.
⁉️ Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer those questions directly. Your child/teen may have some difficult questions about the incident. For example, she may ask if it is possible that it could happen here; she is probably really asking whether it is “likely.” The concern about re-occurrence will be an issue for caregivers and children/teens alike. While it is important to discuss the likelihood of this risk, she is also asking if she is safe. This may be a time to review plans your family has for keeping safe in the event of any crisis situation. Do give any information you have on the help and support the victims and their families are receiving. Like adults, children/teens are better able to cope with a difficult situation when they have the facts about it. Having question-and-answer talks gives your child ongoing support as he or she begins to cope with the range of emotions stirred up by this tragedy.
💞Be patient. In times of stress, children/teens may have trouble with their behavior, concentration, and attention. While they may not openly ask for your guidance or support, they will want it. Adolescents who are seeking increased independence may have difficulty expressing their needs. Both children and teens will need a little extra patience, care, and love. (Be patient with yourself, too!).
If you or a family member would like help finding a mental health care or substance use treatment provider, contact Care Solace, a complimentary and confidential coordination service provided by Glens Falls City School District:
- Call 888-515-0595. Support is available 24/7/365 in any language.
- Visit caresolace.com/gfsd and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.
If you need help with an mental health emergency:
- Call 911 or and request a Crisis Intervention Trained (C.I.T.) response
- Go to the closest emergency room for support
- Text “Hello” or “Home” to 741741 to connect with support
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- English: 800-273-TALK
- Español: 888-628-9454
- TTYY: 800-799-4889
- Online chat: suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Trevor Lifeline LGBTQQ+ Crisis Support: 1-866-488-7386