How to Talk to your Child

After a Tragedy Occurs

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents, teachers, child care providers, and others who work closely with children of any age to filter information about the event and present it in a way that their child can understand, adjust to and cope with.

  • Do not bring the incident up, unless your child brings up
  • Reassure them they are safe
  • Do not watch the news in front of young children

Ages 5-12

  • Appropriate to bring up tragic incident(s) and say:

“You know this terrible thing happened, where some kids/people were hurt/killed by somebody.”

  • Gauge your child’s reaction to see if they want to discuss any further
  • Reassure them that they are safe. Let them know that you, their teachers, and their school are doing everything they can to keep them safe; something like this won’t happen to them
  • Acknowledge you’re not sure why things like this happen. Let them know you do everything to protect them at home and in this world

Ages 12-17

  • Start by asking your child what they’ve heard about an incident, their reactions, and feelings about what occurred (try to gauge what your child is feeling and if they want to talk more about it)
  • Reassure them that they are safe. Let them know that you, their teachers, and their school are doing everything they can to keep them safe so that something like this won’t happen to them
  • Acknowledge you’re not sure why things like this happen. Let them know you do everything to protect them at home and in this world
  • Let them know about the firearm laws in WA State being more strict that most other states to try to prevent firearms getting in the hands of those who want to harm themselves or other
  • Do not push information on them, check-in with your child to see how they are doing in the days to come

Talk to your child about Trauma

How to talk to your child about Trauma
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Cómo Hablar con su Hijo Después de una Tragedia?
(PNG)  |  (JPG)   |  (PDF) – Spanish / Español

Resources
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