For Parents

Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events

11/13/2019 | For Parents

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

Events in the news may cause children who are aware of them anxiety or fear. We offer you what we can during these 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. Two that are particularly good for coping with separation anxiety are Owl Babies and The Kissing Hand. You can watch both of them right now online - no waiting.

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or text a librarian at 317 333-6877. IndyPL librarians would be happy to help you find more books like these.


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 to Help Children Cope

When young children are feeling scared, it can be extremely helpful to read a book together that helps you talk with them about feeling afraid or anxious; or helps answer questions about difficult topics like death or tragic events children hear about on the news. Below are several sensitive and insightful children's stories that address separation anxiety, fear and grief. These stories can help children learn to recognize and name what those emotions are and offer reassurance as well as techniques for helping children (and you) cope. #indyplkids IndyPL_CarrieW

I Am Peace

A Book of Mindfulness

Verde, Susan

A child starts to get carried away with worry and rushing thoughts before taking a breath, steadying, observing thoughts, feeling kindness, feeling thankful, and experiencing the world.

The Rabbit Listened

Doerrfeld, Cori

When Taylor's block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

Mindful Day

Hopkinson, Deborah

Illustrations and easy-to-read text observe a young girl as she and her family practice mindfulness through a busy Saturday.