With current media coverage of traumatic events, your nervous system is getting an onslaught of information. Some of it is helpful. Some is scary. Altogether, it can be overwhelming. How do you balance staying informed and not obsessing about every detail? How do you talk to children about trauma?
Your Response is Normal
Your response to the events of the world is normal. The nervous system is what coordinates action. It sends information to and from different parts of your body. It is meant to detect environmental changes that impact your body.
Losing Your Connection
Everybody is having a response that is based on their perception of the threat they are facing. Your perception and risk level are different than your neighbor, your spouse, your child, or your boss. All your perceptions are influencing your nervous system. These heightened levels of uncertainty lead to you losing your connection to yourself. You do not know what to focus on or what to orient yourself to. You do not know what you will encounter today when you check updates on the news.
Regulating in Times of Uncertainty
Breathe… not the hokey “take a breath and calm down” shallow breath. Breath so deeply it feels like your belly button is touching your spine. Then, exhale as if you are blowing out 30 birthday candles at once. Genuinely breathe. Here is a link to 13 breathing techniques if you need to pause and practice.
Now, take another breath.
Helpful Resources for Talking with Children
Here are several resources to assist you and your family.
Resources for Children
- How to talk about shootings – Books for Littles
- Resources to help families cope with emergencies – PBS Kids
- Talking to children about community and gun violence – Sesame Street
- 25 Books that discuss death and grief
Resources for Parents, Caregivers, Families, and Teachers
- Gun safety tool kit – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Parenting a child who has experienced trauma – Child Welfare
- Tips for helping children cope with a traumatic event – SAMHSA
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Multilingual trauma resources – Child Mind Institute
- School violence resources – National Association for School Psychologists
- After the shooting: what parents can do – James Madison University
- After the shooting: what educators can do – James Madison University
Resources from the Association for Play Therapy and Texas Association for Play Therapy.