National tragedies seem to be occurring more and more, yet this does not make it any easier for us to help our children understand or cope with tragedy. In my previous blog, I discussed tips on how to talk to your children when we are faced with tragic situations. But what if your children are not handling it well? How do you help your children cope? Here are a few ways to help.
- Model confidence and control.
Avoid appearing anxious or frightened. Children take emotional cues from their parents. Appearing calm and in control will help your children feel safe.
- Reassure your children that they are safe.
Point out factors to help ensure their immediate safety and that of their loved ones. Come up with a safety plan and practice it. Remind them that there are trustworthy people in charge.
- Let them know its okay to feel upset and express their emotions.
Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Then ask your children how they are feeling. Let them know that it is okay to feel many different emotions and encourage the to express those emotions.
- Maintain a regular schedule.
Stick to your normal routine. This will help your kids get past their distress. It will also help to model resiliency.
- Take a news and “screen time” break.
Constant exposure to the event might heighten their anxiety and fears. Take a break for a few days from new channels and limit your kids screen time where they might see updates on the tragedy.
- Pay extra attention to your kids.
Spend extra time with your kids the week after a tragedy occurs. Try to spend a few extra minutes reading or playing with them. This will foster a sense of closeness and security.
Amanda Dempsey, LAMFT
Adempsey @ growcounseling.com
Photo Credit: Public Domain