Talking to your kids about school shootings - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Talking to your kids about school shootings

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WASHINGTON (WAOW) -

In the wake of another school shooting, parents may be unsure how to talk to kids about these tragedies.

The American Psychological Association has advice in three areas: how to talk, limited exposure and knowing warning signs.

Psychologists with the APA said parents can use school shootings as an opportunity to talk about how bad things do happen but parents, teachers and local police are working to keep them safe.

Working with young children through play or drawings will help when trying to communicate fears, the APA said.

"Elementary school children will use a combination of play and talking to express themselves," according to the APA. "Adolescents are more likely to have the skills to communicate their feelings and fears verbally."

They said the important key to these conversations is to focus on reassuring children about their safety and paying attention to their concerns.

The APA said parents should also monitor how much exposure children have to news reports of tragic events, including school shootings. 

Finally, parents should know signs of anxiety that might show a child is struggling with a scary situation, according to the APA.

"Indicators could be a change in the child's school performance, changes in relationships with peers and teachers, excessive worry, school refusal, sleeplessness, nightmares, headaches or stomachaches, or loss of interest in activities that the child used to enjoy," the APA said.

For more information about dealing with tragic events, check out more on the APA website.

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