May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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The recent spate of attacks, and heart wrenching murders in Israel, are uppermost in all of our hearts and minds. These tragic events can be very upsetting to children. Oftentimes, children overhear adult conversation about sad news and difficult topics, and we must be sensitive to that and subsequently help alleviate their potential anxieties and fears.

Talking to your children about their worries and concerns is the first step to helping them feel safe and learning to cope with the events occurring in the news. What you talk about, and how you say it, does depend on their age and level of maturity, but all children need to know you are there listening to them.

Kids feel more in control if they can understand what is going on around them. By explaining the facts of what happened, (dispelling rumors and misinformation), and how adults prepare and respond to emergencies, children are able to comprehend the situation and learn from it.

If your child is aware and has questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to talk with your child about the tragedies and to acknowledge and validate what they are feeling. Let them express their fears and concerns and gently reassure them that the world is a good place, even if there are sometimes bad people who do bad things. Remind them that their school and home environment are safe. Inform them that the school staff works together with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, etc.) to ensure their continued safety. Help your child identify at least one adult at school, and in the community, to whom they can go if they feel scared or at risk.

Most importantly, be aware of their presence and limit discussions of the tragedies when in the company of your children. Similarly, limit their exposure to television viewing on the topic of tragic and violent events, in order to prevent added trauma. Developmentally-inappropriate information can cause unnecessary anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children.

Remember that children look to their parents to make them feel safe. This is true no matter what age your children are; from pre-school age to adolescents and even young adults.

By Dr. Tani Foger, Principal Yeshivat He’Atid

Extracted from “From Chaos to Control: School Crisis Response”

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