HealthCheck

How to help kids cope with school tragedy

Friday, December 14, 2012

There is no doubt kids, even in our area, may be frightened by the news of the tragedy in Connecticut. Health reporter and Registered Nurse Ali Gorman spoke with a child psychologist on how parents can help their children cope.

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With the story all over the news, just seeing the images or hearing the details can be very upsetting for everyone, but especially so for kids.

The ways in which parents can help depends your child's age.

Elizabeth Gosch is a child psychologist at P.C.O.M. She says if your children are younger and they have not seen the news on the tragedy, it is better at this point to keep it that way.

"That information, there's not much they can do with it. It's just upsetting, and they are not able to understand it very well either," said Dr. Gosch.

But for older kids or younger kids who have seen or heard about the tragedy, she says talk to them; welcome questions. You don't have to give all the details, but try to give information in a matter of fact manner. And remember to remain calm yourself.

"Inviting the kids and being open to talk to them, answering their questions in a matter of fact way without a lot of drama, will be helpful," she said.

She reminds parents kids will look to you for how to react.

"If the parents can be calm about it and be reassuring, that's going to go a long way in helping the children feel better," she said.

She also recommends keeping routines the same, and to not dismiss concerns.

"That is not very reassuring to kids to tell them not to worry about it. What is more helpful is to say, 'I understand your worries, here's why you are safe, but I understand,'" explains Dr. Gosch.

As for children inside the Sandy Hook elementary school, Dr. Gosch says depending on what they saw most will be affected emotionally in the short term but kids are also very resilient.

More tips on helping kids cope with trauma

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Tags:
children, school shooting, school, connecticut, healthcheck, ali gorman, r.n.
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