SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - Feb 5, 2013) - High profile acts of violence leave parents and caregivers wondering how to discuss them with children. West Jordan childcare experts and owners of Learning Tree Schools, Bethany Hosking and Amy Moyes, explain it's better for parents to be proactive.
"Most importantly, assure children they are safe," says Moyes, who operates three Salt Lake City daycares. "Remember not to dismiss their feelings, but rather talk through them together."
Let a child's questions be the guide as to how the conversation takes shape. Children may not be ready to talk right away, so watch them for clues that they might need to talk. When ready to talk, give honest answers to questions.
Make any explanation age appropriate. The National Association of School Psychologists offers these tips:
- Elementary school - Explanations should be brief and simple. Provide reassurance of their safety and go over safety drills with them if they still seem unsure.
- Middle school - Discuss precautions being taken in their schools, towns and homes to ensure safety.
- High school - Discuss their role in preserving safety by following proper procedures, sharing concerns with proper authorities and seeking emotional/psychological support for themselves or others when needed.
"Have a safety plan in case of emergencies at home and go over it with your children," says Moyes, whose daycares update safety procedures regularly. "If your children are in preschool or attend a child care center, have their teachers or caregiver discuss safety procedures with them as well."
Limit television viewing of the events. Monitor adult conversations when children are present. Avoid using angry language when discussing the topic. Above all, continue a normal routine and monitor children for a change in their emotional state.
Parents who feel their children may be experiencing emotional difficulty should speak to a professional. For children who have experienced personal trauma in the past or who suffer from depression or other mental illness should be closely monitored.
By following these tips, children can successfully cope with situations that are scary and confusing.
To learn more about Learning Tree Schools or how children benefit from academic programs, please call (801) 266-3590 in Murray; (801) 974-5886 in West Valley; or (801) 255-3325 in West Jordan.