All of America is saddened by the tragedy that took place in Connecticut. With the widespread news coverage, many children will have heard about the event and could be dealing with strong emotions at this time. The Glassboro School District would like to share the crisis information below, which we received from a youth organization after the Connecticut tragedy. If you feel that your child needs additional support, please reach out to your child's teacher or guidance counselor. If you are unsure of the telephone number, please call the primary district telephone number 856-652-2700 and follow options to access the main office of your child's school.
How to Support a Child During Crisis
1. Talk honestly of the magnitude of what has happened.
· It is essential that children express their feelings, especially during times of crisis. Parents or caregivers should speak to children about a crisis such as this. Be calm, and open to their questions and feelings.
· Let your child’s questions lead the way –answer them as best you can. “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer.
· Children will inevitably feel as if they are not safe – while the likelihood of events impacting them here are less, discuss how events like this do take place, and that all measures to keep people safe are being taken.
· Be honest about your own feelings about the tragedy. Sharing your feelings gives your children the courage to share theirs.
2. Take a break from the news.
· Think about an activity the family can do tonight, as the airwaves are filled with pictures of the tragedy. Create some quiet time before bedtime to be with your children.
3. Be patient – children will often revisitthe feelings and ask questions again and again.
· After a tragedy of this magnitude, children will need to share stories, fears, and grief. It is normal for children to be repetitive with their questions. Be open to talking to your child and addressing their questions and concerns as they come up.
· Ask children about their dreams, and encourage them to discuss their thoughts and feelings.
4. Recognize that a crisis often manifests itselfthrough behavior.
· Normal behaviors include aggression, fatigue, destructive behavior, reversion to an earlier developmental stage, lack of appetite, insomnia, among others. It is important to talk to your childand be patient with these feelings.
· Arrange some physical methods for children to express their feelings of anger, fear, and anxiety. Some activities such as clay, painting, ripping old phone books, creating a collage, and using blocks are outlets for children to put their feelings out in the open.
5. Get support for yourself and your children.
· Reach out to others in your community to build a base of support.
· Access any spiritual resources your family may participate in.
· Keep in touch with your child’s school –find out how they are responding to the crisis.
· Give lots of extra love and hugs to children during these times.