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What to Tell the Kids About Newtown?

This whole thing strikes way too close to home. I lived in Connecticut before moving to South Jersey.  I knew people who lived in Newtown.  My wife grew up in Connecticut. We are both heart-sick. We have two six-year-old daughters… who are kindergarteners.  It’s awful, senseless, scary – all just too much to fathom.

But what happens when Eileen and Bridget hear about this tragedy?  They almost certainly will, sooner or later. What do we tell them about all this? I don’t profess to be an expert and your suggestions are most certainly welcome in the comments section below.  I did ask around though and I can offer this information.  If you have kids, I hope you find it helpful.

Here are some of the things psychologists and grief counselors are recommending telling your children about this horrible situation in Newtown, CT.

- Keep the information age appropriate and don’t offer any more details than the child requests.

- Kids under 7 or 8 years-old can not process the finality of death.  If your kindergartner hasn’t heard about Newtown, don’t bring it up

- LISTEN to the thoughts or concerns of your older child

- Closely monitor your children’s TV watching and computer usage during this time period and as a general rule

- If your child asks to sleep in your bed in the next few days, let him

- Don’t be surprised or upset if your child wets the bed or has an accident after hearing about this tragedy

- Get out pencil and paper and encourage your child to draw out her feelings. Art is very therapeutic.

- Hug your child!

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