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How to talk to kids about a school shooting

A message from our editor-in-chief

All of us at The Week Junior are heartbroken at the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. I have heard from many parents who aren’t sure what to say to their children, and I’d like to try to help.

First, know that even if you try to shield your children from this news, all but the youngest will hear about it. As difficult as it is, it’s better for them if they hear about it from you and know that you will discuss difficult news with them when it happens. You are a source of truth and comfort to them.

My advice is to be honest, speak calmly, and keep it simple. Encourage kids to say how they feel. Let them ask you questions, and respond as best you can. Mention the people who helped. Limit visual media in your home as the images can be upsetting.

The fact that this happened at a school—a place of familiarity and safety—makes it especially troubling to many children. Emphasize their school’s safety measures. Validate any concerns they have. If you notice behavior changes, contact your school psychologist or pediatrician.

This is a time to reinforce your family’s values. You could donate to one of the many fundraisers that have been established for victims’ families, for example. It’s powerful for kids to feel that they are helping. Above all, hold your children tight and let them know how much you love them.

With kindest regards,

Andrea Barbalich


Explain the news in a thoughtful way

The Week Junior covered the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in Issue 112. Andrea also wrote about it in her editor’s note. The goal of our coverage, in words and images, is to present the facts in a thoughtful, calm, and age-appropriate way while avoiding upsetting details and focusing on calls for change. If you feel comfortable, we urge you to discuss the story with your children and answer any questions they may have.

A man laying flowers at school shooting memorial.

Help kids understand their feelings

Also in Issue 112, we include a special two-page story about coping with the range of feelings children may experience when upsetting things happen in the world. We interviewed two experts in child psychology to provide this advice, which includes talking to trusted adults, doing things kids enjoy, and taking action to support others. We also include a page where kids can write or draw how they feel, another step experts recommend.

Help kids understand their feelings guide