It used to be that kids’ worries focused on grades and friends. The sad reality nowadays is that they have a much bigger worry: their safety, a school shooting and whether or not they’ll be faced with gun violence at school. Active shooter drills and bulletproof backpacks have become commonplace in our children’s schools.
Family members of the 20 children and six adults who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 founded Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit that aims to honor victims of gun violence by preventing it in the future. The organization released its newest PSA, “Back-To-School Essentials,” on YouTube yesterday. It features kids showing off their new gear and school supplies, but quickly takes a dark turn.
If you want to talk to the kids about this but you’re not sure where to start, The Child Mind Institute has some tips for helping children of all ages cope and recover after a traumatic event. First off, know that you can only shield them so much. “You can’t shield them from knowing,” says Dr. David J. Schonfeld, founder and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. “If you say nothing, you’re actually saying so much—that you yourself don’t know about national events, or that they’re not something you know how to talk about, or that you’re not someone your child can talk to about scary things, because you can’t help them.”