I had a hard time writing yesterday because I was glued to the tv, and my heart was aching for the people who suffered at the Boston Marathon. I am glad to have had yesterday off from nannying but it got me thinking, how would I have reacted when the kids got in the car scared and confused? What would I say to explain it? How do you comfort a child when such a senseless and random act of violence happens? I figured my readers were probably in the same boat. To be honest, I have only had to deal with having sad conversations like this once, after the Newtown school shootings. So I am saying up front, if you have tips or similar stories, please comment.
The day of the Newtown shooting started like any other. The kids got up and ready for school. We left at the same time. The kids got out of the car with a smile…
But when they got back in the car after school, I could tell they knew something was wrong.
“How was your day?” I asked.
Tip 1: Stay positive and don’t bring the subject up until they ask
“eh..” they reply. THEY ALWAYS TELL ME about math class and art projects.
We sat in silence for half the ride home.
“Miss Kelsey? why didn’t we go on recess today and why was Ms. Morgan so sad?” Jo Jo asked.
Now, the big answer…how do you talk to an eight and ten year old about the massacre for children about their age?
Tip 2: Answer their questions honestly but don’t go into gruesome details
“well hun, you didn’t go to recess because the teachers just wanted to make sure you were protected. Kind of like one of those drills you guys do. Ms. Morgan was sad because this morning a bad guy went to a school in Connecticut and hurt a lot of little kids. It happened a long ways away and your school is super safe.”
“Derek said 50 kids were killed” Jay piped in.
“No numbers have been released and it is not good to spread rumors. You mom will have more information when she gets home. So while we wait.. who wants PINKBERRY!”
Tip 3: Be comforting, allow for questions and offer an alternative subject or activity
As a nanny we can be faced with some pretty tough stuff. Go with your gut and explain what you can. Be an open line of communication and offer lots of hugs.
Pray for Boston and all those affected.