CLEVELAND (WJW) – It happened in a setting where most kids spend the majority of their day; a place they traditionally see as a safe haven… the classroom.
But how young is too young to explain the tragedy inside a Texas elementary school?
Doctor Carolyn Landis, a child psychologist at UH Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital says parents and caregivers should also wait until the child initiates the conversation.
“I think that you can present it in a way that’s sensitive to their developmental level,” Landis said. “I really think for younger children you can kind of wait a little bit and see if they come to you with questions or if kids at school or friends are talking about it.”
Guns are now the leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States, killing more people between the ages of 1 to 19 than vehicle crashes, drug overdoses, even cancer.
If a child expresses that they’re too afraid to go to school, Landis says, “I would reassure children that they are safe to go to school and just like mom, or mom and dad are going to work, we’re doing our regular, we’re living our regular lives.”
But Landis adds if a child starts displaying symptoms, including anxiety or trouble sleeping, it may be time to seek professional help.
“…at bedtime, kinda sit with them and reassure them and then if they wake up in the middle of the night to kind of go back and tuck them in and reassure them and sit there. If this continues on though, then you might need to seek some help,” Landis said.