We know it’s tough to talk to kids about school shootings. But unfortunately, these days it’s something that we can’t ignore.
We fully understand that it’s a tough topic to approach with your children, but it’s crucial to have a conversation about school shootings. With school shootings becoming more prevalent, kids are introduced to this scary topic in school, usually within the first week of back to school.
To help you navigate this sensitive subject, we’ve compiled a list of age-appropriate books about school shootings that can aid children in understanding and coping with this reality. These books can provide a starting point for conversations that empower children to feel more in control of their fears and emotions.
How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
We understand that talking to kids about school shootings is not an easy task. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or even scared when broaching this topic with your child. However, it’s essential not to avoid the topic. Discussing this with your child can help you provide guidance on a topic that your child will learn about in school anyways.
To make this conversation more manageable for both you and your child, we’ve gathered some tips to help you approach the topic in an age-appropriate and gentle manner. Remember that every child is different, and there’s no one “right” way to have this conversation.
Start slow and use simple language. Don’t provide too much information at once, and let your child guide the conversation. This isn’t a one-time talk – it’s an ongoing conversation that you can revisit as your child grows and matures.
Validate your child’s feelings and concerns. Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared, anxious, or worried, and that you’re there to support them.
Reassure your child and emphasize safety measures in place. Let them know that schools have safety protocols in place to keep them safe, and that there are adults whose job it is to keep them safe.
Answer your child’s questions honestly and factually, without overwhelming them. Use simple language and avoid discussing violent details.
Encourage ongoing conversation and check in regularly. Let your child know that they can come to you at any time to talk or ask questions, and that you will always be there to support them.
Books for Kids About School Shootings
Resources to Help You Talk to Your Child About School Shootings
As parents and caregivers, it’s important to have all the resources available to help your child feel safe and secure. Here are some additional resources to assist you in discussing school shootings with your child:
Scholastic provides age-appropriate and helpful strategies to educate kids and relieve their anxiety about school shootings.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides tips about how to start the conversation, common reactions children may have, and how to seek help if needed.
Safe and Sound Schools is a nonprofit organization that offers a range of resources, including toolkits and webinars, to help parents, schools, and communities better prepare for and respond to crisis situations.
Common Sense Media provides tips for taking an age-based approach to discussing news of school shootings with kids.
ChildMind offers strategies for dealing with anxiety related to school shootings for both children and parents.
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