If your kids have heard about the shooting in Connecticut, chances are they're asking questions about it. So here's some advice from child psychologists and other experts on how you can help kids deal with something so tragic.
#1.) Turn Off the News. If you have CNN running on a loop all day, young kids might misunderstand and think the shooting is happening over and over again. So make sure they understand it's NOT, and that the guy who did it is gone now.
#2.) Encourage Them to Ask Questions. Obviously, you don't need to tell them all the DETAILS. And you shouldn't FORCE them to talk about it. But maybe just ask if they've heard what happened, and go from there.
--Older kids might act cool like it doesn't bother them. And if it really doesn't, that's okay. But a good way to get them talking is to ask what their FRIENDS have been saying about it.
#3.) Put It in Perspective. Make sure they know this isn't something that happens all the time. Young kids might need some reassurance that they're safe, and they don't have to worry when they go to school each day.
#4.) Don't Tell Them That What They're Feeling Is Wrong. A young kid might tell you they're HAPPY, because no one they KNOW was hurt.
--And if they say something like that, don't feel like you have to explain why they SHOULD be sad. Just be supportive, and tell them you're glad too. But you're sad for the people who DID get hurt.
#5.) Keep a Closer Eye on Kids Who Have Been Through Something Traumatic Before. Just like with adults, a NEW traumatic event can bring back a lot of bad memories. But kids don't always show it the same way.
--For example, they might cope by reverting back to old habits, like playing with a toy they haven't cared about in a long time. Or they might start throwing tantrums you thought they'd grown out of.
--They could even start acting anti-social and LESS emotional than they normally are. So if you're worried, keep an eye out for ANYTHING out of the ordinary in the next week.