How to approach talking to kids about Las Vegas shooting


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Las Vegas shooting sent a shock wave across the nation, and many are wondering how do you explain tragedies like this to children?

KSN talked to a child psychologist and area school leaders to find out.

They said to be aware of the child’s age, but to not shy away from a conversation on the shooting or any similar incident if they are impacted or asking questions.

Since the shooting, it may feel like everywhere you turn you see or hear about it. The same goes for some of our kids.

“They may assume that the shooting is right around the corner because they don’t have as much of a concept of distance or time as we do,” said Dr. Molly Allen, Licensed Psychologist.

“Our students are bombarded every single day with media in a variety of ways,” said Stephanie Anderson, Wichita Public Schools

Anderson says kindergarteners up to high schoolers can be impacted by these types of incidents. That’s why she and others say it’s important to provide support and know how to react.

“Their child is going to follow their lead, and so if they can stay calm and rational about it then they can have a conversation that their child can settle down with,” said Becky O’Hearn, Head of Early Childhood at Wichita Collegiate School.

O’Hearn works with some of Wichita Collegiate School’s youngest learners and says if the shooting is talked about with these ages, teachers and parents should remind kids they’re safe. A Wichita psychologist agrees.

“Encourage them to talk it out, tell you what their fears and concerns are let them know that you understand that they are worried about that kind of thing and all of the adults around them, the people that care about them, are doing their best to keep them safe,” said Allen.

Allen said when talking to children about tragedies like the shooting to try to focus on how they can help, by possibly going with mom or dad to donate blood, or by making cards for those who are impacted.

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