Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events

Grandma and Child Reading Photo“We’re going over in a safe area,” she told the 5-year-olds. Then, she opened a book and started to read.”  ~Kindergarten Teacher, Sandy Hook Elementary School

The Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting and the mailing of suspicious packages are recent events in the news that may cause children who are aware of them anxiety or fear. We offer you what we can during this difficult moments and that is the comfort and security that time spent with you and good book can provide. Come. Open a book. Start to read. Hold them close and revisit old friends together; Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Arthur, The Little Engine That Could.

Or stay at home and do the same. Find the books in the bookcase with the dog-eared pages and the tell-tale bite marks on the spine; the ones you can probably recite without looking at the pages. Choose the one with the coffee ring on the cover for having been on the bedside table every night.

Favorite stories are steadfast old friends to count on in times of trouble. In addition, the books listed below are designed to help you talk through fear and trauma with  your child.

It is clear from the resources we have gathered below that one of the best things we can all do is simply reassure children that many people – their family, their teachers, their neighbors, the people at day care or church or the library love and care about them and are looking out for their safety.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. 
”Yes, Piglet?” 
”Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Professional Advice about Helping Children Cope with Violence and Tragic Events:


Dad and Children Reading PhotoWhile favorite stories are comforting and familiar, you may find that it would be helpful to read a book together that helps your child understand feeling afraid or anxious; or answers questions he or she might have about death. Below are several children’s books that address separation anxiety, fear and grief. These are just a small sampling to show you the kinds of books that are available. Also listed are some parenting books about helping a child cope with anxiety. Click on any book jacket to go directly to the online catalog to make a request with your IndyPL Library Card, or visit any of our branch locations. IndyPL librarians would be happy to help you find books like these. NOTE: The first two titles, Owl Babies and The Kissing Hand, you can watch right now online – no waiting. Both are about learning to cope with separation anxiety.


Videos:

OwlBabiesWatch Right Now: Owl Babies – Three baby owls panic when they awaken one night and find their mother gone, worrying about what has happened to her and becoming frightened by all the scary things that surround them in the dark. Book

 

KissingHandWatch Right Now: The Kissing Hand – When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. Book


Picture Books:

The Breaking NewsThe Breaking News – When devastating news rattles a young girl’s community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. At school, her teacher tells the class to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways. She wants more than anything to help in a BIG way, but maybe she can start with one small act of kindness instead … and then another, and another. Small things can compound, after all, to make a world of difference.


Invisible StringThe Invisible String – When Liza and Jeremy run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and means that they are never alone.


Healing DaysHealing Days – A guide for kids who have experienced trauma.


The Hugging TreeThe Hugging Tree – Told in rhyming text, a little tree clings tenaciously to a granite cliff, determined to live, tended by a little boy, and ultimately loved by the people in the community.


Jenny is ScaredJenny is Scared – When Jenny and her brother are frightened by events in the world, their parents help them talk about their fears and feel better.


The Kiss BoxThe Kiss Box
– As they prepare for a short separation, Mama Bear and Little Bear find a way to reassure each other while they are apart.


Love Hugs & HopeLove, Hugs & Hope – Helps children identify feelings that overwhelm them with anxiety and despair. Explains that sometimes bad things happen and good people are hurt. Children feel fear, sadness, and anger. The book teaches that there are ways of dealing with these emotions.


Love WavesLove Waves – While they are at work a mother and father send powerful “love waves” to their child at home, offering reassurance and comfort in their absence.


Mommy In My PocketMommy in My Pocket – A little girl gets anxious about separation from her mommy when she goes to school.


On That DayOn That Day: a Book of Hope for Children – This book tells children that although terrible things happen, there is still hope that the world can be a better place.


The Rhino Who Swallowed a StormThe Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm – When little Mica is frightened by a storm, her father tells her the story of a rhino who was feeling lost and alone, until he learns that with the love of family and friends, there will always be help during tough times. eBook

 


Snowflakes FallSnowflakes Fall – In this illustrated poem in honor of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, falling snowflakes celebrate the uniqueness of life, its precious, simple moments, and the strength of memory. PrinteBook


Some Bunny To Talk ToSome Bunny To Talk To – When Little Bunny’s problem makes him feel sad and fearful, he goes to a therapist for help. Includes note to parents. eBook

 


A Terrible Thing That HappenedA Terrible Thing Happened – After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and then angry, but when a counselor helps him talk about these emotions he feels better.

 


What to do When You're Scared & WorriedWhat To Do When You’re Scared and Worried – Why do we have worries and fears? — Fears after something bad has happened — Fears of people, animals, and situations — Worries about being away from your parents : separation anxiety — Thoughts and behaviors you can’t stop — Worrying all the time — Panic, feeling you are going crazy or about to die — How to control your worries and fears — When fears and worries will not go away — For parents : helping your children cope with worries and fears. eBook


When Bad Things HappenWhen Bad Things Happen: A Guide to Help Kids Cope – Truly bad things happen in life. And while we cannot shelter children from every hurt and harm, we can reassure them that they will always be loved and cared for. We can teach children the skills needed for coping with life’s biggest challenges and changes. And we can restore children’s trust that life, after all, is good. eBook


For Adults:

Freeing Your Child From AnxietyFreeing Your Child From Anxiety – Written by an expert in the field of childhood anxiety disorders, this indispensable guide is for parents looking for safe, proven methods for reducing childhood anxiety. Dr. Chansky shows them how to teach their child to successfully deal with stress and face the challenges and uncertainties of life. This resource is a CD but is also available as a eBook


Growing Up BraveGrowing Up Brave – The author, a childhood anxiety expert, helps parents identify and understand anxiety in their children, outlines effective and convenient parenting techniques for reducing anxiety, and shows parents how to promote bravery for long-term confidence.

One thought on “Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events

  1. Traumatic events, no matter what they may be, can have a very heavy impact on a child. Helping them cope should be a priority for those close to them. Reading childhood stories is a good idea, but finding stories or books about grief and trauma is important as well. Thanks for sharing.

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