Advice on Helping Children in Times of Tragedy

CHICAGO, IL (December 14, 2012) – News of the mass killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, will cause a whirlwind of emotions in children just as it does for adults, says Steve Burger, director of adult, children, and family ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

“In the midst of such unfathomable tragedies such as the one in Newtown – in which children are killed in a place they consider secure and safe – kids are apt to ask if the same thing could happen to them,” Burger says.

“It is important that we address such a tragedy with our children and give them space to share their feelings and concerns,” he adds.

Burger encourages parents to read an article written by Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers fame), who discusses how to help children. “Fred Rogers has written a piece, which provides a way into such conversations that is both sensitive and instructive.

Some of Rogers’ suggestions include:

  • “Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.”
  • “Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It’s reassuring to know there are many caring people who are doing all they can to help others in this world.”

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