Last week, terrible events transpired in Beirut and Paris that shocked many. We are saddened by the tragedies and our thoughts are with all those affected.
Although events like this are rare, they can have an impact on each of us—our children, staff, families and friends. We all respond to situations like this in different ways. Some feel sadness or grief. Some feel anger or a sense of helplessness and anxiety. Whatever we feel is okay, and we want families to know support is available to help you and your children in these situations.
The tips below may help you support your children following tragic world events:
- Recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to themselves, family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.
- If your child is not focused on the tragedy, don’t dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed adult conversations regarding the tragedy in front of children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behaviour or social interactions.
- Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a disaster or crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repetitively. Young children in particular may not be able to distinguish between images on television and their personal reality. Older children may choose to watch the news—be available to discuss what they see and to help put it into perspective.
- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities, classes and friends can help children feel more secure.
- Be aware of your own needs. Don’t ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talking to friends, family members, faith leaders and mental health counsellors can help. Let your children know you are sad. You will be better able to support them if you can express your own emotions in a productive manner.
The safety and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. If you feel your child needs additional support, services are available within school. To access these services, please contact your principal or vice-principal.