Response to Parkland
Caring For Our Children... Caring For Ourselves
During a traumatic situation, children look to the adults in their lives for guidance on how to cope with feelings of fear, anxiety, powerlessness, anger, and sadness. As an agency with expertise in trauma and children development, Westchester Jewish Community Services offers the following recommendations from our mental health professionals:
- Acknowledge that people are shocked and sad about this tragic event. Speak to children in an honest but reassuring manner.
- Let children know that schools, law enforcement agencies, and government workers are actively working to ensure that schools in our area are safe and secure.
- Create times for family togetherness so that children have the opportunity to share their feelings. Take your cues from your child. Some may be open to articulating their fears. Others may act out. And others may want to distract themselves. Be prepared to answer questions, provide hugs and support, and devote extra time to family activities.
- Limit exposure to news on television and radio. Our 24/7 news cycle can reinforce and exaggerate scary thoughts.
- Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, sleep well, and maintain a normal schedule. Children need the adults in their lives to feel grounded and strong in order to gain coping mechanisms and resilience.
- Finally, if sadness persists, on your part or that of your child’s, seek professional consultation.
WJCS encourages schools, camps, youth-serving agencies, first responders, and all those concerned about or working with young people to learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid Training—the CPR for mental health.
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