NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 14: Responders gather at the scene of a mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. There are 27 dead, 20 of them children, after Adam Lanza reportedly opened fire in one of the largest school massacres in U.S. history. Lanza is dead at the scene and his mother, a teacher at the school, is also dead. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A question facing parents: How do you talk to your kids about the tragic school shooting that unfolded at a Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut?
First Coast News spoke with a child psychologist to find out. We are digesting the images and video right along with you as this story develops.
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Twenty children were killed at the Newtown school Friday morning. The tragic act hit parents on the First Coast.
Florida State College at Jacksonville professor and developmental psychologist, Erin Richman, has two little ones of her own.
"It makes me hug my kids tighter today, tonight," she said.
Richman recommends only telling children 10 or 12 or older about what happened Friday. If they do know, Richman said let your child lead the discussion by asking 3 good questions.
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"What do you know?" "How do you feel? and "What can I tell you to make this better?"
In the wake of such a devastating event, it is important to convey a sense of calmness and confidence. Make your child feel safe.
"As you go into the holidays and spend more time with family," Richman said, "it really drives home the point that, you know, cherish our kids, cherish each other."
Richman said it is important for children to remember that coping with tragedy is difficult and that life is not always easy.
"It's sometimes really sad," said Richman. "But we get through it and we do things to get through it together."
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As dozens of Connecticut families deal with losing loved ones, the key moving forward for you and your family is to be thankful.
"It's really being thankful there's a new day tomorrow to move forward," Richman said.
All the while, several families wish they could turn back. Richman said it is important for adults to talk about this with other adults so they don't over talk these very sensitive issues with children.
First Coast News