Having been affected in a very personal way to the tragic shootings that occurred on Sunday in Overland Park, I’m taking the opportunity to share some information that has weighed heavily in my heart for the past several days: how to talk to children when tragedy strikes.
The shootings that took place right outside of Overland Park’s Jewish Community Center (JCC), and the Jewish senior living center took the lives of Blue Valley High School student Reat Underwood, his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, and Terri LaManno, mother of 3 adult children. While I didn’t know the victims of this senseless crime, my family and I spend a great deal of time at the JCC, and – like many of our friends – consider it a home away from home.
However you may be connected to it, such an event leaves many of us feeling unsettled, and yes, a little fearful. It has also left many of us parents and grandparents with the difficult task of talking to our kids about this terrible tragedy.
Fortunately, there are resources available to all of us – children and adults alike. In addition to your children’s school counselor, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers some great solutions to Helping Children Cope.
A few pieces of advice pulled directly from the NASP page that have helped me this week:
- Model calm and control. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives.
- Reassure children that they are safe. And reassure them the adults in their life are safe too.
- Let children know that it is okay to feel upset.
- Stick to the facts and keep your explanation age appropriate.
Again, I share this information with a heavy heart, but I hope it will help you in your own conversations with your children.
Thanks to the entire KC Kids Fun community for your dedication to your children and families, and for making Kansas City a great place to live. We are so grateful to be a part of your lives.