Tips for Talking to Children After Tragic Events

how to talk to kids about tragic events

When a tragic event occurs, like the recent terror attacks in London, it can be difficult to know how to talk to children about them. Especially if they’ve caught news of the horror and are distressed by what they’ve seen and heard on the media.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) have encouraged parents to talk to children who have shown distress about the recent events, offering tips that allow the children to process the tragedies to make sense of what has happened.

Parents and Carers are encouraged to talk to kids about the events by following these tips:

• Talk about what happened at a level that children can understand. It is better not to share gruesome details of the event, but give enough truthful and simple information to clear up any misinformation.

• Encourage children to talk about their thoughts and feelings about what happened.

• Look out for possible stress reactions that show that the children are unsettled or distressed.

• Maintain good routines.

• Talk to them about the helpers and heroes that help make the world a better place.

• Foster hope.

• Pay attention to your own reactions and talk privately with trusted adults if you need to air your own feelings and reactions to the event.

Most importantly, children need to be reassured they are safe and secure.

If you need more tips or information on how to talk to your kids about tragic events, the APS have information on understanding trauma available here.

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