"You have a little acknowledgment of what happened, and then go on with life," Leach said. "If you linger on it and have a whole day of memorials, it would be too much."
Watt said her 8-year-old daughter, Melissa, has not been able to sleep by herself since Sept. 11. Her 3-year-old son, William, saw people jumping from the towers that morning.
In their Battery Park City apartment overlooking the disaster site, the Watt children still draw pictures of what they saw. William carefully includes ladders to save the jumpers.
Parents say their children show signs of stress in their play, building and then destroying towers of blocks. A book of children's art, soon to be published by the school system, includes drawings of the trade center in flames.
A study released by city schools in May found that 76 percent of city schoolchildren often thought about the attack six months after Sept. 11; 24 percent had problems sleeping and 17 percent had nightmares.
The study also said an estimated 75,000 children showed six or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress — enough to be diagnosed with the disorder. Nearly 90 percent were suffering at least one symptom.
One recent afternoon, Andre Moten, 6, visited a park near ground zero for the first time since the attack. He used to come regularly with his grandmother and older brother, Shirod.
"I dream what happened to the World Trade Center," said Moten, clad in an "I love New York" T-shirt. "And in my mind I keep thinking that the World Trade Center fell down."
Schools in suburban areas that lost large numbers of people in the attacks are also mindful of grieving children as they plan for the anniversary.
In Middletown, N.J., where more than 30 children lost a parent, administrators plan to observe a moment of silence in all schools. Further programs may be planned by individual schools.
Levy said schools throughout the nation have flooded administrators with calls seeking guidance on how to prepare for the anniversary. They responded by creating a Web site with guidelines and suggestions, which they also distributed to city schools.
The 18-page handout warns teachers that children's needs will vary greatly on this year's Sept. 11: "No one way to memorialize will meet everyone's needs."
— The Associated Press
FAA Manager: Ohio Controllers Faced Sept. 11 Decisions
O B E R L I N, Ohio — Air traffic controllers believed they had a hijacked plane in the air over Ohio on Sept. 11. They just didn't know which plane.
During tense moments that morning at Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center, the first guess was that Delta Flight 1989 was hijacked, not United Airlines Flight 93.
"We knew right away we had a problem. The first thought was, 'Is that Delta 1989?'" said Rick Kettell, manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's busiest regional center.
Kettell talked Tuesday about the drama of the day for the air traffic controllers who had the last contact with United Flight 93 before it crashed in Pennsylvania.
The center, about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland, guides planes at high altitude as they fly over portions of seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
The center's controllers were concerned about the Delta flight because it had departed Boston five minutes behind United Flight 175, which crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York.