Experts: How to Talk to Your Kids About Colorado Tragedy - - ABC13

Experts: How to Talk to Your Kids About The Colorado Tragedy


Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh

Lynchburg, VA- A lot of people are trying to make sense of the Colorado theater shooting tragedy. The heartbreaking stories of loss and shaken sense of security are tough to deal with. It's even harder for your little ones watching nearby.

Child experts say the best things parents can do right now is help their children feel safe. Parents should do all they can do to limit how much information they are letting their kids take in.

To Amy Peters' son, Batman is a superhero that fights crime in the darkness of night. And that's all she wants him to associate with the capped figure.

"We're kind of shielding him from everything because he is into action figures and playing," said Peters.

"We actually have not turned the TV on since it happened, so that's sort of the way we've dealt with it," said Melissa Forinash, a nanny for three small children.

It may seem drastic, but child specialist Norma White says letting kids watch too much coverage can be traumatizing. She says past events like 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shootings did a number on some kids.

"Children were afraid to go to sleep. Children were afraid to go into the city in New York," said White, who is the director of Clinical Services and Mental Health of Central Virginia.

She says kids six and older are most vulnerable, and there are some signs you can look out for.

"If they are showing symptoms of anxiety having, sleep problems, crying, or being overly whiny, you just need to sit down and talk to them," said White.

During the sit-down, she says keep the violent details out. Don't be overly dramatic when talking about it around your kids. And, remind your children they are safe.

"Just reassure them that's it ok go to the movies. Tell them this happens far away. Tell them going to the movies is safe, and that mom and dad are going to be with them to keep them safe," said White.

If you notice a drastic change in your child because of this event, White says it might be time to see a counselor. Some symptoms to look out for are anxiety, fear, trouble sleeping or loss of appetite.

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