Some tips for helping youth following mass violence events
- Monitor the amount of media exposure: That includes TV, internet and social media
- Ask what they have heard or what other kids are saying: Give youth accurate, age-appropriate information and correct any misinformation.
- Find out what concerns your child has and take them seriously: Some of their fears may seem trivial or unrealistic to adults but can occupy the youth's thoughts and dreams just the same. It is important to take their concerns seriously and offer reassurance.
- Tackle the tough questions: When asked “Why did this happen?,” it’s OK to say we don’t know; if asked “Can it happen here?,” stress that these events are unusual then pivot to the good that can be taken from it — the helpers, the compassion.
- Keep the routine: Routine provides youth with a sense of security.
- Spend time together as a family: Increase opportunities for play, fun and relaxation. Connecting with friends and family members helps children feel there is a safety net of people around them.
- Process your own feelings: If you are feeling upset, anxious or fearful, it will be important for you to find a trusted adult to talk to. Avoid talking about your fears in front of your children.
- Monitor your child's behavior and seek assistance if necessary: Changes in eating, sleeping and behavior or complaints about stomach pain or headaches that do not abate over time could be signs that a child needs professional help.