Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Do Your Part

I am still in shock and will be saddened over the events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday of last week.

I just want to first acknowledge the bravery of staff, parents, and community partners who reacted immediately to protect the children.

I was doing some research online and put together a list of tips to help support your children and family in this time:

- Recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to themselves, family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.

- If your child is not focused or does not know about the tragedy, do not inform them or dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed conversations regarding the tragedy in front of the children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behavior or social interactions.

- Please limit exposure to media coverage. Images of disaster or crisis can become overwhelming even for us adults, much less children, especially if watched repetitively.

- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities can help children feel more secure.

-Be aware of your own needs. Don't ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talk to friends and family members but above all, talk to God and ask Him to remove the Spirit of fear from your life. There is no one I'd rather speak to than Him in prayer. You will be better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a humble and productive way.

Please do not allow fear to eat you alive while you are trying to focus on your day to day job duties. I know that the school's top priority is the safety and well being of each of our children.

If you are concerned about your children, help is available through the schools. If you are concerned about your child or feel he os she needs additional help, contact the school principal, social worker or psycho-educational consultant.

Take care of yourself and of others.

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