First 5 LA’s 5 Ways to Help Children Feel Safe After National Tragedies

Even if we are not personally affected, knowing about tragic events can be upsetting for adults and terrifying for children. Enabling children to process scary events can help them feel less afraid. Here’s how:

Limit media exposure. Turn off the TV, put down the phone and listen to music — not news — to avoid media overload from tragic events. Exposure to scary information and images increases anxiety for both adults and children.

Answer questions. Children may be worried or misinformed about tragic events. Clarify facts and answer their questions in a matter-of-fact way. You don’t need to provide too many details. Offer reassurance that you are working to make sure they are safe and that such events are rare.

Discuss feelings. Offer your children the opportunity to discuss their feelings. Let them know it is normal to have a lot of strong feelings when bad things happen. Work to model calm assurance.

Take action. Children (and adults) can feel better by doing something, whether it is sending prayers or a note, raising money or collecting things for those less fortunate. There are many ways to offer support. Help children become “helpers” for those who are impacted by tragedy

Be extra kind. Tragic events are upsetting for everyone. Self-care is essential for being able to help your children. Be kind to yourself and to them — everyone needs gentle support in tough times.

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