I, like many, turned on the TV this morning to find tragedy and sadness flooding my heart and mind. I cuddled my little guy all morning. I watched him play, and I thought about what I would have been thinking before I had children. I would have been thinking, “How am I going to deal with this in the classroom on Monday?”
There’s many ways you can deal with tragedy and grief with children, and it all depends on the particular child, events that have taken place in their life and their age. Like adults, children will draw on what they know and their personal experiences to make sense of what is going on around them.
If you decide to discuss the events that have taken place in the U.S, my suggestion would be turn off the TV. I’ve read many forums, tweets and Facebook pages today and I know some people have their child’s best interest at heart when they say they believe their child should be exposed to the ‘real world’ but the news is not in child-speak. It is not interactive or allows for children to have a conversation or ask questions, and the images and footage shown are aimed at adults. One is better off having a conversation with your child/children so that you have the power to expose as much or as little as you see fit for their age/development/personality.
I’ve always been able to discuss events like this in the classroom from a religious perspective – Having taught in Catholic schools. And if this is something that can suit your family to draw upon then it can be a good time to explain, light a candle and say some special prayers.
Otherwise, perhaps light a candle, have a minute’s silence, or discuss why we are thankful, lucky to have our families around us, as well as our teachers. Remembering not only children, but a mother and a teacher were lost also.
If you shed/they shed a tear, that’s OK. It’s a tragic, sad event and it’s alright to exhibit emotions.
If your child likes to express themselves through Art, then it’s perfectly appropriate to have them draw one thing they appreciate about their family, or cut out and decorate a heart to place by a candle today.
My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected by this loss, and any loss of a child’s life. May they rest in peace.
Children and life are so precious. I’ll be holding my little man extra close today.
I must stress these are suggestions based on my experience as a teacher. If you do not agree or think it should be handled differently, then that’s OK. There are so many factors to take into consideration and only you will know what is best for your individual child.