How to Put Florida’s Mass Shooting School Tragedy into Perspective for Kids

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How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings

In the wake of yet another deadly mass shooting school tragedy in the United States, one health specialist offers advice on how to talk to kids about school shootings and ease children’s fears about acts of terror and violence.

Consider the child’s age and emotional maturity when weighing the right time to discuss such tragedies, recommends Dr. Hannah Chow, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.

“The older they are, the quicker you should tell them. You want to get in front of any misinformation, as they may have already heard the news from another source,” she said in a Loyola news release.

Younger children require special consideration.

“They may not be aware of what’s happening, but can pick up the emotions of those around them,” Chow said. “I’ve always advised parents to address these issues in a timely manner and give them a brief modified version of what happened. Most importantly, remember to be truthful.”

Before deciding whether to let a child watch news coverage of a tragedy, parents should watch the news first and use their best judgment. They also need to set a time limit for viewing.

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SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, February 2018

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