How to Talk with Kids About Traumatic Events: A Resource Guide

Our hearts are broken as we are faced with yet another tragedy, this time in East Lansing. After the tragedy in Oxford last school year, this again is so close to home for so many of us. As mothers, we can’t even begin to imagine what the families, teachers, students, and everyone involved are going through. There are no words that could convey how heartbroken we are. We want to offer support however we can. Below, you will find links to resources on how to talk with kids about traumatic events.
We hope these resources will be beneficial to you and your family. If you know of resources that we can add to our list, please let us know. Plan to bookmark this post; we will update as more resources come in.

How to Talk with Kids About Traumatic Events

National Association of School Psychologists

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
You will find tips for talking with children about violence, including how to be sure your discussions are developmentally appropriate. You can also find suggested points to be sure to touch on when talking with children.

Mitigating Psychological Effects of Lockdowns
This details what happens before, during, and after a lockdown. It may be beneficial to read as a parent to familiarize yourself with the procedures.

School Safety and Crisis
This is a list of additional resources on a variety of traumatic events, including natural disasters and a health crisis. While these resources were developed for schools and educators, they are available to the public.

Translated Safety and Crisis Resources
A comprehensive list of various safety and crisis resources, translated into many languages. Please reach out to them via e-mail at [email protected] if there is a resource you’d like to be translated.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
This is an abundance of information for educators; a section for parents and caregivers. This aims to help parents understand child traumatic stress and childhood traumatic grief.

Talking to Children About the Shooting
You will also learn about reactions your children may have, and other ways to find help if you need it.

School Shooting Resources
This is a complete list of resources for talking about school shootings with children, including trauma and violence. Parents can search for resources based on specific keywords or topics.

Child Mind Institute

Anxiety Over School Shootings
While this article touches on what to say to your child about a school shooting, it also mentions what you can do for yourself to manage your anxiety about the situation.

Caring for Kids After a School Shooting
This is a short video you can view to learn about helping children after traumatic events within a school.

Helping Children Cope with Frightening News
These are helpful tips for talking with your children, including how to start the conversation and how to help them express how they are feeling.

Going Back to School After a Tragedy
These are tips for helping your child to feel ready to return to school after a traumatic event has taken place.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

AACAP Resource Library on Guns and Violence
This is a list of resources to browse, many of which focus on these topics and how to help children. You will also find advocacy opportunities and additional resources from peer organizations.

American Psychological Association

Talking to Your Children About the Recent Spate of School Shootings
This is a quick read on how to speak with your children on school shootings. It also includes an important note on recognizing the warning signs that your child may need more help understanding.

Various Other Organizations

Common Ground | Common Ground is a local organization with the motto of “helping people move from crisis to hope”. They can be reached 24/7 by phone at 1 (800) 231-1127. On their website, you can find residential treatment centers (for children and adults) and safe shelters to go to, as well as support groups.

North Oakland Community CoalitionCommunity Resources for Mental Health
Through the NOCC website, you will find a list of community resources that are focused specifically on mental health services. The list includes counseling agencies and crisis hotlines.

Mental Health America | Talking to Kids About Fear and Violence
These conversations can be difficult. MHA offers many helpful suggestions for how to navigate these difficult conversations with your children. | Federal Resources for Helping Youth Cope after a School Shooting
This is a link to a list of various resources from many organizations, including some U.S. Departments. | Help Your Children Deal with Disturbing News Reports
This offers a look into how children may be affected by this kind of news, news anxiety, and what to do if your child witnesses a tragic event.

common sense media | How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
This guide contains a breakdown of different age groups, and how best to talk with children of that age, including what to say and what to do.

It is our hope that these resources will be beneficial to you in navigating these difficult, important conversations with your children. If there are any other resources you feel should be included, please let us know. We will update this post periodically.


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