Resources for Supporting Children through Tragic Events

Sadly, in response to the horrific events in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022 and other too-common violence impacting children, families and communities, we offer this collection of resources to support families through tragedies, pulled from many sources including the Virginia Department of Education, Arlington Public Schools, and The Wise Family.

How to Talk to Your Child About the News from KidsHealth:

Helping your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting from the American Psychological Association. 

Talking to children about terrorist attacks and school and community shootings in the news (National Center for School Crisis and Beverement) This guide offers advice on how to talk to children about tragic events, such as shootings and terrorist attacks, that they are likely to hear about at school and/or on the news.

The Teacher’s Role When Tragedy Strikes (Child Mind Institute) This article provides information on how teachers can help students deal with tragic events and what can teachers do to help children grieve in healthy ways.

Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists)  This guide provides tips for parents and school personnel to help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears. Also includes an infographic and is translated into multiple languages.

Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting (Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress) A tip sheet for parents and professionals on how to restore a sense of safety and answers to frequently asked questions.

Talking to Children About the Shooting (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) Provides information on how to talk to children about mass shootings. This tip sheet describes ways to talk to children about mass violence events that involve a shooting. It gives tips about how to start the conversation, common reactions children may have, and how to seek help if needed.

Responding to School Violence: Tips for Administrators (National Association of School Psychologists) School violence can cause significant concern in school communities, even those not directly affected by the violence. School principals and superintendents can provide leadership by reassuring students, staff, and parents that schools are generally very safe places for children and youth, and reiterating what safety measures and student supports are already in place in their school.

Virginia C.A.R.E.S. (Caring, Awareness, Recognition, Engagement, and Support) (Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS)) To assist schools in explaining threat assessment and reporting to students, parents, and staff, VCSCS launched Virginia C.A.R.E.S. Virginia C.A.R.E.S. is a multi-pronged approach to engagement and awareness in schools that includes videos and resources on threat assessment. The campaign works to build Caring, Awareness, Recognition, Engagement, and Support in Virginia schools. K-12 Threat Assessment in Virginia: A Prevention Overview for School Staff, Parents, and Community Members and K12 Threat Assessment in Virginia Schools, an instructional video for school staff, parents, and community members is now available.

Notes from the Backpack Podcast: How to Talk to Your Kid About Gun Safety (Parent Teacher Association) This podcast is a conversation with expert Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. She shares how to have open and honest conversations with children of all ages about lockdown drills, school shootings and all of the emotions that come along with these topics.

American Psychological Association: Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting

Common Sense Media: How to Talk to Kids About School Shooting

Common Sense Media – How do I talk to my kids about violence in the news?

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event

American School Counselor Association – Helping Students After A School Shooting

PBS Kids – Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News

A Mighty Girl – What to Do When the News Scares You” 

Author Dawn Huebner has also released a similar book for kids ages 6 to 12 –  “Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping With Events in the News

National Association of School Psychologists Care for Caregivers: Tips for Families and Educators

For parents and educators, here is an excellent guide filled with conversation scripts and tips on helping kids feel calm in an anxious world – “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place”