Explaining the Tuscon Shootings to Our Kids

The shootings in Tuscon this weekend has shaken us all.  It reaffirms that tragedy can strike anywhere, anytime, when we least expect it.  It’s hard enough for adults to wrap their heads around it but how do we explain this to our kids.  In a world of 24/7 news it’s almost impossible for them not to hear about it let alone see I images.  I asked clinical psychologist Dr. Emily Cashman to provide some tips on how to address this senseless tragedy with our kids: 

  • In order to help your children feel safe and to alleviate any fears they may have regarding the recent shootings in Arizona, it is important that you are informed. Contact your child’s school today to find out what, if any information has been discussed in class or with the whole school.
  • Talk with your children about what they do as individuals to keep themselves safe, what you do as a family, and what the community does.
  • Try to keep the television and media to a minimum; especially younger children (under 7) will not understand that this incident has happened once if they see it replayed over and over again on the news.
  • Empower your children to take any actions they can to feel safe (locking the doors with you at night, etc.)
  • Finally, do not “over talk” this, but let your children know that you are available to talk whenever you need them.


Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant. 



Filed under Parenting

4 responses to “Explaining the Tuscon Shootings to Our Kids

  1. I would like to share great resources that incorporate grief counseling for kids:

    Kidlutions.com – Owner Wendy Young is a premier spokesperson regarding grief and children. School materials available
    NaspOnline.org (The official website for the National Assoc. for School Psychologists)- click on parent tab
    APA.org Official website for the national association for most psychology group in the US and Canada

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Explaining the Tuscon Shootings to Our Kids | The Safety Chronicles -- Topsy.com

  3. Missy Carson Smith

    Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of my brother’s shooting. He was slain by a classmate at this boy’s home. This issue is still alive and well in 2011. I recently went through the shock and realization that I, too, had fallen victim to allowing my own child to attend a play date in a home where there was an unlocked weapon, but there was more to it. I had to take care of the unlocked guns in my own home after this wake-up call. If you have concerns about how to handle gun safety and accessibility issues, please consider following my just launched Facebook page as I begin a new nationwide campaign called “Gun Safe Mom”. Please contact me with any questions.

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