Helping Children Cope
Tips from SLC's Early Childhood Center for parenting children through troubling times
Be Honest and Open - It's okay to admit feelings of sadness, anger, concern, and to answer, "We don't know" to difficult questions. And any expression of a child's feelings or thoughts is healthy. Encourage them to draw it out, play it out, talk it out.
Let Them Lead - Don't force them to say, see or do anything they are really resisting.
Be Accessible - Be with your children more now - physically and emotionally. Give extra hugs and kisses and take extra care at bedtime.
Keep It Simple and Don't Overwhelm - Use words they understand and explanations they can easily embrace. Manage their exposure to media coverage, your phone conversations, etc. Know how much they can take.
Keep the Routine - Keeping life as normal as you can is reassuring for everyone.
Listen, Listen, Listen - Keep an extra-sensitive ear tuned to hear what they are saying, directly or indirectly.
Be Accepting - Allow them their own ways of coping minute to minute. Some responses may seem inappropriate, but try not to judge or condemn. Even humor is an effective coping tool.
Be Prepared - Sometimes children of any age will surprise you with their maturity in a crisis. But they will also regress — wrap your arms around it all.
Reassure, Reassure, Reassure - Above all else, tell your children that you love them and that they are safe, you are safe, those whom they love are safe.