Parents given tips on dealing with children during tragedy

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Parents across the country are struggling with what to tell their children about the terrorist attacks Tuesday. Children, like many people, may be confused or frightened by the news and will look for adults for information and guidance on how to react.

This list, prepared by the National Association of School Psychologists, was distributed to principals in Cape Girardeau schools.

1. Focus on your children over the next day or so. Tell them you love them and everything will be OK. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.

2. Make time to talk with your children. If you don't, someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.

3. Stay close to your children. Many children will want actual physical contact. Give plenty of hugs.

4. Limit the amount of your child's television viewing of these events. If they must watch, watch with them for only a brief time.

5. Maintain a "normal" routine. To the extent possible, stick to your family's normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don't be inflexible.

6. Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed. These activities are calming.

7. Safeguard your children's physical health. Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure they get plenty of sleep.

8. Consider praying or thinking hopeful thoughts for the victims and their families. It may be a good time to take your children to church or synagogue, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express his or her feelings.

9. Find out what resources your school has in place to help your children cope. Being with friends and teachers can help. Schools should also have a plan for making counseling available to children and adults who need it.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: