Sunday, December 16, 2012

What to Tell the Kids About the Connecticut Shootings

We are all immensely saddened by the recent shootings at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The parents of these beautiful children must be feeling unspeakable grief.

Children across the country may be exposed to the news and to talk of the tragedy, and as parents it's important for us to meet their needs and answer their questions. Following are some articles and links that may be helpful for parents.

These sources suggest that our response to fears and questions should depend on the child's age and emotional development. Young children should be insulated from the incident as much as possible. Older children may ask more complicated questions and the conversation should be direct and supportive. For every child, it's important to balance honest conversations with an overwhelming amount of detail that can create even more fear.

I highly recommend this article:
Talking to Children About the School Shooting by Susan Stiffelman, Huffington Post

Reacting to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting and
Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting by the American Psychological Association

Video from Fox News, an interview with a psychologist speaking on practical tips for parents:

Article from that is directed toward parents with children directly affected by the shootings:

A few previous posts about talking to kids about tragedies and disasters from this blog: and

As Ms. Stiffelman recommends, parents should not forget to take care of your own emotional needs, and to reach out for support if they need it.


  1. Another good article posted regarding how teachers can help children feel safe:

  2. Yes another article that might be helpful: