I have previously written about how I handle tragedies or techniques for those suffering from trauma when national tragedies occur. Today I want to shift the discussion of tragedy slightly. When national tragedies such as shootings occur, adults are not the only ones affected. Think about all of the news and media young children are experiencing. The 4 and 5 year olds in my life can operate a smart phone better than anyone, and they are trying to process the world around them just like we are. Take time to be mindful of how you and your family are processing the recent tragic events that have swept the nation.
HuffPost recently posted an article addressing the questions and various complicated reactions children have of national tragedies and disasters. Children immediately relate what is happening to themselves and have questions about safety and security. As parents, family, and community members it is important to reach out and validate the true realities while being sensitive and a source of security. They also may be experiencing stress from the news, like you may be. The article, entitled “How To Help Your Child Sleep After A National Disaster”, has tips that are applicable for all. This article gives tips to help ease into the conversations that may follow when youngsters ask unanswerable questions. Children will also experience stress and restlessness associated to national disasters, and as parents and family there are small things we can do to help them sleep. These tips and techniques can help you as well.
My favorite tip is something that I implement for myself. Try turning off the news 45 minutes before bedtime, and limit the total amount of news watching for the day. Taking time to talk about other things and start the process of winding down for the day and help you and your children sleep better.
Other tips include:
- Remind kids of what keeps them safe.
- Help kids express their feelings.
- Stick to the normal routine
- Give them a little extra TLC