School child with head on folded arms

Tips for talking to children after a traumatic event

Children may have difficulty processing a traumatic event that they witness or see on TV. Here are some tips for talking to your child after a traumatic event:

  • Give children multiple opportunities to talk about their experience or draw what they are feeling.
  • Promote open communication by being a listener and a discussion facilitator so that they feel comfortable sharing their concerns.
  • Use helpful phrases such as:
    • "I'm glad you are sharing these thoughts... it helps us all to understand our own reactions."
    • "Your reaction is not an uncommon response to such an event."
    • Avoid using the phrase, "You shouldn't feel that way." It can come across as being judgmental.
  • Maintain your regular routine of meals, bedtime, etc., as soon as possible.
  • More information on helping your child adjust >>
  • Symptoms may appear immediately or weeks to months after a traumatic event.
  • Consult a mental health professional if you have concerns.

Community Health Network offers a free 24/7 crisis and referral phone line at 317-621-5700 to support families and members of our community.