In light of today's horrific events at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, I offer this bit of guidance written way back in 2001 after 9/11. I trust it will benefit all our readers who love and care for children. Please feel free to post on your Facebook page or pass along to those who are looking for healthy ways to walk their own children through this tragedy.
> Take care of your own emotional responses and needs by talking with other adults or professionals out of earshot of children. If children see significant adults fall apart, their own fear will increase, and they are more apt to feel guilty, shamed, 'not enough,' or 'too much.'
> Avoid television and radio coverage when children are around. Be sure to monitor their social media connections.
> Function as a family unit with a daily, structured routine, including healthy meals at regular times, routine playtime and chores, and a normal bedtime.
> Be safe for your children by using positive, age-appropriate language when talking together. Don't overwhelm them with questions, but instead allow them to direct conversations, answering their questions calmly and simply with no more detail than necessary. Reassure them of their safety and ask them what they need to feel safer.
> Validate their thoughts and feelings, and help them to express themselves in healthy ways by encouraging them to paint, draw, use modeling clay, design collages, journal, or write letters.
> Give them choices when possible so they don't feel powerless.
> Verbalize your love for them, and include plenty of appropriate touches and hugs.
> Speak of God's love often, and be sure to include devotional time in the evenings. Encourage them to tell God what's on their hearts by praying simply and specifically in their presence.
> Continue to provide a sense of community by being involved in church, neighborhood, and school events. Look for opportunities for your family to reach out to others in their time of need.
> Do contact your pediatrician if your child seems particularly troubled, is having trouble sleeping, or shows persistent signs of stress, anxiety, or fear.
Prayerfully Written & Offered ~
* photo by Mundo33