Children can ask some tough questions. They need to know if they are safe, if you are safe, and how recent disturbing events will affect their daily lives. Children may ask the same question several times—be patient and remember that by asking questions, they’re letting you know they trust you.
Print and read this sheet with ideas on how to respond to tough questions. (Of course, you know your children best, so naturally you’ll want to adjust what you say, especially depending on children’s ages.) Consider talking to other adults about how they’ve explained the issues to their children, and to share your concerns and ideas.
Young children tend to confuse facts with fears, so don’t give them more details than they ask for. Avoid sharing details such as the exact number of people who died or if the violence was coordinated, and try not to be too dramatic. If you’re very upset and they notice, reassure them that you’re sad about the news too, but that you’ll be fine and you’ll still be there to take care of them and keep them safe.
If the violence happened in a school, children might worry that the same thing will happen at her own school. Avoid sharing any concerns of yours. Instead, explain that these events are rare. Then describe ways that grown-ups in schools work to keep children safe (keeping the front door locked, requiring visitors to identify themselves and sign in, posting cameras at the entrances, and so on).