The Sandy Hook school shooting was on the minds of parents around the country as they dropped their children off at school this morning. Many don't know how to explain it to their children.
"I kinda wanted to wait, kinda maybe let the dust settle a little bit, but I think I will eventually have to initiate a dialogue because it's not going to go away," says father Michael Douglas.
Mother Lisa Cholodenko added, "I figured I would wait to see if heard about it and he brought it up with us."
Child psychologist robin goodman says it's important for parents to reassure their children they are safe - even ones as young as kindergarten age.
"You want to find out and help them express whatever it is they're feeling and say you understand why you would be sad or scared or worried."
When kids come home, experts say ask if they heard anything at school, parents should be calm during the discussion and honest.
Experts say keep your explanations age appropriate. Elementary school children need brief, simple information. Older children will have more questions that require deeper discussions.
Parents are also advised to limit their children's exposure to the media coverage of the massacre.
"If you're a young child it can seem like it's still going on instead of more news about the same thing," says Goodman.
Parents should also get back to a routine as soon as possible.
"There's some predictability, some structure to your day that can really help organize your feelings and make you feel a little less overwhelmed."
Experts say remind children of the heros in the tragedy and all the people providing comfort.
Mental health experts also say you should keep a close eye on your children's behavior over the next few days or so to see if the tragedy is affecting them more than expected.
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