Talking to your kids about tragedy

John Lewton spoke to those present at the Block Watch meeting.
John Lewton spoke to those present at the Block Watch meeting.

WALBRIDGE, OH (Toledo News Now) – The Walbridge Block Watch met Wednesday to discuss how to talk to children about crisis situations.

They asked a mental health specialist to come and help parents learn about the best way to talk to their children about something like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. John Lewton spoke to community members about the ways parents can approach the topic of tragedy with their kids.

His number one suggestion was for parents to break down the information into pieces, so children can fully digest each piece they are given. He also suggested speaking to children about the steps that are being taken to make schools safer, so they don't feel afraid to go to school.

"All parents have to figure out how to get their kids to listen," Lewton said. "Sometimes it's going to be a situation where the kid will be willing to talk about it, and…ask questions, and other situations, a parent's going to have to draw things out."

There are also age-appropriate reactions that parents should be aware of. Younger children may start sucking their thumb again, while older children may exhibit poor concentration, confusion, or even regressive behavior.

Lewton said if any of these behaviors continue for more than six weeks, it's best to seek professional help.

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