Tips for Teaching Children about Traumatic Events

1. Before discussing anything with your child, speak with your partner or any other parental figure in your child’s life. You want to make sure that if your child has questions later, everyone is on the same page and included in the conversation.
2. Sit your child down in a calm and safe place with no distractions. Tell them that you have something important to talk to them about and they did not do anything wrong.
3. Let them know that some things you tell them may be hard to understand or you may use some words they don’t know. Assure them that if they don’t understand something you say, you will explain it until they understand completely.
4. Listen carefully to your child, watching their emotional level and choose words that are reassuring. Sometimes the bottom line is they just want to know that everything will be okay for them and their family.
5. When explaining events that have taken place to your children, be sure to take their age into consideration. Make sure what you are telling them is age appropriate and will not cause them undue stress or worry.
6. Tell them the basics of what occurred on that fateful day. Start by keeping things simple and give them more information to answer their questions.
7. Be sure to let them know they do not have to be scared for their safety or for their loved-ones.
8. Express that the government has made changes to how they protect us and they are doing everything they can to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
9. Remember whatever you tell your child needs to be the truth.
10. Tell your child that they can come to you any time with questions.