On behalf of the ECH community, I offer our deepest condolences to the families of Newtown, CT, where, on Friday, December 14, 2012 we know that so many young children and educators lost their lives.
Our hearts are broken by this senseless violence and unfathomable loss. At ECH, our therapists and clinical experts have convened and are prepared to assist children and their families as they deal with the multiple emotions, anxieties and fears that have surfaced in the aftermath of this national tragedy.
In times like this, it is only natural for us to think of our own children and about the children served in the many different programs of ECH Every Child’s Hope. Please be assured that for the children served at ECH, safety is our number one priority and all building and emergency procedures are being reviewed, checked and improved.
As the children in your lives learn about this tragedy, they may need assistance with their feelings and reactions. Following 9-11, the "A-B-C-D-E" approach provided helpful advice for parents and teachers when sharing information about violence or tragic events with kids:
A. Age Appropriate
B. Be Honest
C. Consistent (regular routines as much as possible: bed times, lunch times, etc.)
D. Delete television (and limit media exposure to the event for at least a few days)
E. Expression (love, faith, the goodness of others)
Most children are quite resilient and will return to their normal activities relatively quickly, but parents should be alert to any signs of anxiety that might suggest that a child or teenager might need more assistance. Such indicators could include:
- a change in the child’s school performance
- changes in relationship with peers and teachers
- excessive worry
- school refusal
- sleeplessness or nightmares
- headaches or stomachaches
- loss of interest in activities that the child use to enjoy
Also remember that that every child will respond to trauma differently. Some will have no ill effects; others may suffer an immediate acute effect. Still others may not show signs of stress until sometime after the event.
Resources are being provided to all staff to help the children and families in our community in the aftermath of this tragedy. Below you will find some additional resources that may be helpful to you.
However, if you find your child or family in need of extra help to process these events, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Through the wide variety of programs we offer, there is help available right here at ECH Every Child’s Hope.
In shared grief,
Resources about Helping Children Cope with Tragedy