Talking to Children about Violent Events


The Wellness Team at Evergreen School District is heartbroken to learn of the tragic events at the VTA yard in San Jose on the morning of May 26. While we may wish to protect our children from learning of and experiencing such horrific events, even the youngest of students become aware of violent actions through exposure to social and other media, as well as in their own observations and experiences. It is essential for us to support our students by reassuring them of their safety and offering information to help them make sense of the world around them.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources to support students and their families who have experienced trauma. Here are some recommendations:

  • Start a conversation. When adults don't start conversations, children feel even less safe.
  • Find out what your child already knows. Start your conversation with a question and listen to what your child says so you can learn about any misunderstandings or underlying fears.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions. Answer questions as directly as possible while also acknowledging when you don't know the answer or when information is changing.
  • Limit media exposure. Very young children, especially, should be protected from video or sound descriptions. Media coverage also can cause adults to become more distressed.
  • Be patient with your child and yourself. During stressful times, everyone may experience challenges with behavior, concentration, and attention. Extra care, attention, and time to connect is important for your entire family. The Evergreen Wellness Website has resources for self-care for students and parents.
  • Get help when needed. Families in the Evergreen School District can access Care Solace for mental health referral assistance during the summer.

Here are resources for more information:

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

How To Talk With Kids About Gun Violence

Basic tips for how to talk with a child of any age about gun violence, including specific ideas for toddlers, grade school students, and teenagers.

Talking to Children about the Shooting

The recent shooting has evoked many emotions—sadness, grief, helplessness, anxiety, and anger. Children who are struggling with their thoughts and feelings about the stories and images of the shooting may turn to trusted adults for help and guidance.

Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting

As a parent, you may be struggling with how to talk with your children about a community shooting at a school or elsewhere. It is important to remember that children look to their parents to make them feel safe. This is true no matter what ages your children are, be they toddlers, adolescents or even young adults.

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

High profile acts of violence can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.

Updates and Support Resources from your

Evergreen Wellness Team

Visit the Evergreen Wellness website for mental health and self care resources for students, parents, and teachers.

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