El Paso Suffered A Terrible Tragedy – What Do You Say To Your Kids?
The shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart has taken two more victims. The El Paso Police Department tweeted Monday morning “Sad to report that the number of fatalities increased by one. Victim passed early this morning at the hospital.” They continued to update the death count around an hour and a half later by tweeting “Just after 1000 another victim passed away. The total is now at 22.”
As adults, we are having a hard time wrapping our minds around this senseless tragedy. We know that the person who did this is talking to El Paso Police Department investigators and apparently not holding anything back. Police Chief Greg Allen said that his investigators are working on attributing to the suspect an online post that is allegedly his manifesto that talked about an "invasion" of Mexicans in America.
With all this horrible news playing out on tv, radio, and online, the question for so many parents becomes, what am I supposed to tell my kids about this tragedy? Should I tell them anything at all, or should I tell them everything?
You know your kids and what they can handle better than anyone else, but experts say there are a few things you should think about. KCOS, El Paso's PBS station, and Sesame Street have a number of articles and videos that can help you figure out how to tell you kids about this terrible situation.
They suggest that for very young kids:
1. Stay as calm as possible: Kids look to your reaction and will often mirror your actions. The calmer you are, the safer they'll feel.
2. Help them prepare for an emergency: Tell them it's ok to feel frightened, but they need to follow your directions or that of a police officer to get to safety.
3. Know who your helpers are: Sometimes parents tell kids that a police officer will take them away if they're misbehaving in a store. Don't tell your kids that because in an emergency they will need to obey orders from an officer. Kids need to know that in an emergency a teacher, police officer, firefighter, and parent will help get them to safety.