Recent news of yet another school shooting has left many parents and caregivers asking how it is best to discuss gun violence with young children.
Last year alone, there were 51 school shootings that resulted in injury or death, according to Education Week, which began tracking such incidents in 2018. The massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that left 21 people dead — most of them children — highlighted the urgency of addressing gun violence and death with young children. While there is no right age to start having these conversations preemptively, pediatric psychologist Jeff Shahidullah said children do absorb a lot of information from their surroundings and may know more about what is happening elsewhere than you think. To start a conversation, focus on finding out what they do know about school shootings or other violence in the news and how that makes them feel, he said. “Kids are always listening. They hear what caregivers and adult siblings and classmates are talking about,” Shahidullah said.
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