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Tips For Talking To Kids About Emergencies And Scary News

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  • Julie Thomas
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"Sesame Street: Here for Each Other"  

Since last Friday, parents, teachers and communities everywhere are mourning the loss of lives from a little school in Connecticut.  Grief and broken hearts not just for the families with empty seats at the dinner table now, but also as we personalize the tragedy …"What if it was my child?" or " ... my school?"  Among my own mommy friends, I have heard this time and time again: "Do I say anything or wait for him/her to bring it up?" 

In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, PBS has resources materials to help parents and teachers talk to kids about emergencies and scary news:  

AETN will air a special "Arthur," Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 6 a.m., which will repeat at 3 p.m. The episode, "April 9th," was created after 9/11 to help kids deal with fear after a scary incident - in this case, a fire at Lakewood Elementary School. Download the companion parent guide "Helping Our Children Feel Safe" from the "Arthur" website. 

Mister Rogers gives advice on scary news.

Watch a "Sesame Street" Elmo video “Helping Kids Feel Safe.”

Elmo talks to kids and parents about scary situations.

Download the "Sesame Street" guide “Here for Each Other: Helping Families after Emergencies." 

Strategies for talking and listening.

Consider a media blackout to help your kids.