While we do not recommend talking in-depth with very young, preschool-aged children about the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, we understand that many of our readers have school-aged children as well and some conversation is inevitable.We recommend you consider the following tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping children cope:
1. Focus on your children today and over the next weeks. Tell them how much you love them and that things will be OK. Try and help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
2. Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this tragic event, someone else will. Take some time to determine what you wish to say to them.
3. Limit your child’s television and Internet viewing of these tragic events. If they must watch, watch with them, and keep it brief, then turn off the television. Don’t sit re-watching the same events over and over again.
4. Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent that is possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be INflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.
For additional tips visit www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/talkingviolence.pdf
Finally we wanted to share a heartwarming and beautiful poem we have seen surrounding these horrible events.
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA