How to Talk with Your Kids About the Newtown Shooting

Updated: 12/13/2013 8:18 AM By: Mitch Pittman

As we still try to make sense of an event that escapes explanation, parents all over the country are left wondering how to tell their children about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.

KSTP spoke with a child psychology expert at the University of Minnesota and a St. Paul Public Schools counselor coordinator, and they offered some tips:

-Don't plan out a speech, but rather let your child lead the conversation and listen to their feelings.

-Keep your responses age-appropriate, your five year old and twelve year old will need different talks.

-Limit media exposure, as young children often will see repeated stories as multiple shootings.

-Put this shooting into perspective. Although this is a horrifying tragedy, this is one of the rarest bad things that could happen. Reinforce that this happened far away, and that adults try their very hardest to protect children.

For further help, your asked to call your child's school counselor for support. It should also be mentioned that parents, too, may need support in a time like this and that it's good to share your feelings with others.