These last several days have been emotional for all of us. It has been an extra stessor if your kids are elementary school age. The worry and fret over what to tell them (if anything ) was weighing heavily on almost every parent I know. This is a deeply personal decision and often based on your own child and their needs.
I work as a counselor in an elementary school and have spent the last few days combing through "expert advice" and reflecting on my own personal experience in dealing with kids and crisis. Upon returning to school yesterday and fully braced with all of my "counselor tools" the only trend I saw of the kids who were most traumatized were those who watched the news without much parental involvement or processing. If children knew, were comforted and had their questions answered-they were fine. And for the most part, the ones who were sheltered remained that way. No matter what you decided to do-shield completely, share a little or give details, the important aspect is that you are there for them, that you remain calm, comforting and are keeping your normal routines.
I found a lot of valuable insight from my searching and reading, but this was the best article I have found on what to say/not say to your kids as well as how to teach self-talk and self regulation in times of stress.
I am thinking of all the parents who lost their children, although I still can't wrap my brain around it. I am thinking of mothers who were touched so deeply from this event because they have young troubled children of their own. I am thinking of mothers whose children have Aspergers and are feeling like they now have to defend their children from finger pointing and ignorance of the disability. And I am thinking of all of you- and how this affects you personally-as I know we have all been deeply touched.
I am wishing that ALL MOTHERS will find some comfort and peace among this unthinkable tragedy.