Experts suggest ways to talk with children about tragedy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Experts suggest ways to talk with children about tragedy

MADISON (WKOW) -- The shooting in Connecticut is weighing heavy on parents and kids here at home. Many are wondering how they begin to talk about the incident with their young kids.

For parents picking up their children after school Friday afternoon, a long conversation was waiting for them at home.

"You don't know what to say. I mean, you don't want to scare them," says Laura Woodruff, the mother of a 1st grade boy. "You don't want them to go to school and have them be fearful every single day. That's what we're here for."

Other parents also asked themselves how they were going explain such a sad situation to their sons and daughters.

"It's going to be a balancing act to help her understand and it's a very complex thing. I mean, it's something she needs to understand, but you also need to have her enjoying school and know that's a place you should be safe," father Brandon Roder says.

Counselors say the most important thing to remind your child that you're there to protect them and you're there to listen.

"Give them as much information as you think they're capable of handling and be straight forward and honest and answer their questions," Madison Metropolitan School District Counselor Margot Fischer says.

As for watching news coverage and exposing your child to the situation, parents should decide how much each child can handle. Watch it with them and ask them if they have questions.

"Depending on their age and their development I think it might be a good idea to shield them, but as a parent myself I also think it's important that I want to have a conversation with them about this myself," says Madison College's Dean of Counseling Geraldo VilaCruz.

Counselors suggest that parents be calm and collected with your emotions in check before you talk to your kids. It will help to reinforce the message that everything is going to be okay.

Experts also suggest monitoring your child's TV watching and online activity for the next few days. With the continued media coverage it's not a good idea for young children to see the same images over and over again. Some young children might not understand the images they're seeing only happened once.

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