It is hard to explain to our children something we hardly can grasp ourselves. Still, for children to feel safe in the aftermath of a terrorist attack they need to be reassured, heard, and helped to understand the situation. Further, it is essential for them to know and understand that somebody is taking care of the situation, and that they are safe. In order to keep hope for the future, children need to know that things will be better. To instill trust and confidence it is important to reassure and encourage children without promising something you cannot deliver.
Maintain children’s normal routines. It can help them restore their feeling of security and stability.
Belinda Ekornås, RVTS East
Advices to adults:
- Try not to overreact. If you panic, children can get scared.
- Try to limit children’s exposure to terror images and sounds in the media.
- Talk to the children about what’s going on. Make it simple by using easy language they understand and give concrete examples.
- Think through what you want to say to the child, take your time and be calm when you explain.
- Give the children enough information to understand what has happened. Ask if they need more information, but avoid graphic details that are not necessary.
- Do not be afraid to be honest and say that there are some things you don’t know.
- Allow the child to express their feelings openly.
- It is common that children play, draw, write, and tell stories about violent experiences to process them.
- Take your time when putting small children to bed. For those who are scared of the darkness, a night light may help.