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Tips for Adults Supporting Children After Tragic World Events

Tips for Elementary Students:

  • Some children may become concerned that something bad will happen to them, their family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults are here to take care of them.
  • If your child is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed adult conversations regarding the tragedy in front of children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. 
     
  • Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming. Young children in particular may not be able to distinguish between images on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put into perspective.
     
  • Maintain normal routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.
     
  • Be aware of your own needs. Don't ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your children know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.

Tips for Secondary Students

  • Bring up the topic at a time and place where a discussion can occur. If there are distractions, a shortage of time or if either you or your teen is too tired or busy, it is likely the conversation will not be completed. If your teen is not focused on the tragedy, do not dwell on it. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability.
  • Allow teens to share their ideas and speculations. Help them to separate what they know from what they are guessing about.  It is normal for people to try to make sense of things when a serious loss occurs
     
  • Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming. Teenagers may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put into perspective.
     
  • Maintain normal routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children and teens feel more secure.
     
  • Be aware of your own needs. Don't ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your teen know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.

Please know, as always, our top priority is the safety and well-being of each of our students—your children. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.  Help/Support is available through our schools. If you are concerned about your child or feel that they may need additional support please contact your child's teacher, vice-principal or principal.