Children Understanding the Newtown Tragedy

Talking to children and going back to school are part of getting kids to understand.
4:42 | 12/18/12

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Transcript for Children Understanding the Newtown Tragedy
This country go back to school many of them may be anxious after what happened in Connecticut so what should parents say and do to calm those fears. Well joining us is doctor Harold -- -- founder. And director of the child's mind institute doctor copilot thank you so much for joining us this morning -- -- my pleasure to be here. What we have so many questions of course I'm a parent I have a first grader and a fifth grader and I struggled with whether or not to speak to both of them. Can you tell our viewers what. -- is appropriate to discuss this terrible tragedy I think it's gonna really depend on the particular child but the rule of thumb is at least five years of age. Kindergarten or first grade is the first time he'd talk to them. And when things we like is for parents breaking news to the kids say something terrible happened in this school. Very far away not so far away. And because this terrible thing happened where kids were very badly hurt. School is going to be safer now where they're going to be more precautions at school but the most important pieces take the cue from the child. -- Europe. Individual child might want to know more or less. But would -- don't force this it's nice for them to know you told -- about it. And they know they can keep coming back to you to ask more questions what about the child that is after you speak to your child. What about the child that is afraid to go back to school on Monday morning -- -- I think it's very important that -- go back to school so that means you're gonna have to reassure them. You're gonna have to tell them about the safety -- your school how rare these kind of events are. And if necessary you're gonna change your schedule around and drive your child to school or walk your child to school. It has it's really important that we want to model resilience and we want our children to be resilient. And we don't want to destabilize the -- by this we don't want. This terrible event to have -- more negative events and children who won't go to school who's going back to school and getting back into routine is one of the best things we can do for children. Not know what if you see. What are the signs of trauma and a child because although. Parents I believe certainly know their children we may not be familiar right with the signs -- of trauma so what what should we be looking for I think. You hear from abstinence that's been listening and child even when they're not talking -- take a look at -- people this and you have a great sleeper. And your child's having trouble and wants a sleeping in bed or your child's very irritable we child's appetite has changed when your -- -- has many worries that. They never had before. He's at the beginning signs of an anxiety reaction. And it and we should watch that because it's in a few weeks from now if these things don't disappear that's when we really -- traumatic stress disorder. Now let's say we see that. Where do we get help for our children I think every parent has to know that they should reach out to their pediatrician. They should reach out to web sites like child's mind -- or where they can really get scientifically -- information. And if they still have worries that's when you definitely make an appointment with your doctor and ask them two weeks three weeks from now. When an update your -- -- -- mental health professional. Where the tragedies of this event was that this was someone with terrible symptoms that went ignored that didn't get to help that they so need. And what we don't want is to have children suffering because of this event unnecessarily and perhaps this will open up the discussion. About mental health and our children certainly time for that national discussion I would say so. Well doctor Harold cop -- its founding director of the child's mind institute thank you for that advice. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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