We’re in this together. We all experience fear when we don’t feel safe and when we don’t feel the children in our care are safe, and the instinct to keep children safe is universal.

When there’s been a violent event that has impacted your community, it’s okay to let children know you’re sad and angry. (It’s usually hard for anyone to tolerate negative emotions, much less acknowledge them to others, but you might reframe this as going through your emotions, not around them!)

As a provider, it helps to acknowledge that you, too, are deeply impacted by the threat or experience of violence, even if it is vicarious. Your stress, anxiety and sadness around violence in your community and in the lives of those in your care are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Reach out to colleagues or other professionals for support in addressing and processing your own experiences, and stay connected during and after difficult situations.

As a provider serving vulnerable children and families, you’re already working toward safer communities—because every day, you invest your time and energy in children’s futures. Give yourself the space to acknowledge that this is hard and that’s okay.