EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After six people died in a school shooting in Nashville, parents might be looking for the best way to talk with their children about the tragedy.
Three children, three adults, and the suspect died in a shooting at the Covenant School Monday morning. All three children killed were nine years old.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), parents should plan the conversations in advance, find a quiet moment with their children, and be honest about the situation. They also advise asking kids what they know and listening to their responses.
“It is OK to acknowledge your feelings with your children,” the APA says. “They see you are human. They also get a chance to see that even though upset, you can pull yourself together and continue on.”
The APA also suggests parents may have to talk to their kids about what death means. They should reassure them that they are open to talking about the situation and will always look out for them.
“Reassure them that they are loved,” the APA adds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to avoid graphic images and information when addressing tragic events with kids.
“In general, it is best to share basic information with children, not graphic details, or unnecessary details about tragic circumstances,” the AAP says.
Some children might not cope well with tragic information.
Here are some signs that your child isn’t adjusting well:
- Sleep problems
- Physical complaints
- Changes in behavior
- Emotional problems
Read more about the symptoms and get additional tips on how to talk to children about tragedy here.