Resources Specific to School Shootings
Dealing with the Trauma of School Shootings from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Mental Health Tips from Oakland Community Health Network
Processing the Tragedy of School Shootings from the Fuller Youth Institute
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after a Recent Shooting from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers from the National Association of School Psychologists
Talking to Children about Terrorist Attacks and School and Community Shootings in the News from School Crisis Center
How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings from Common Sense Media
Holy Conversations: Violence from the Rio Texas Conference of The UMC
Frequently school districts will send out information and resources in your area. If you aren’t sure, reach out to a school administrator or local mental health provider.
Resources for Church Leaders:
Six School Shooting Resources for Youth Ministry from the UMC Young People’s Ministries
Three Approached for Responding to School Shootings for Youth Workers from the UMC Young People’s Ministries
There are times when traumatic events impact our life in tragic ways. Violence, accidents, natural disasters, etc. These resources have been compiled for use in congregations, homes, and ministries of the church. There are resources that are appropriate for younger children through youth. Some of the links come from a faith/pastoral care perspective, others are from a trauma or school perspective. Some are to equip parents/caregivers with how to have a hard conversation with their child/youth. Others may be helpful to watch or read with a child/youth.
Important Reminders for Talking with Kids about Hard or Scary things
Excerpts from Trauma Resources for Ministry with Children and Families
Pray for the victims. Simple prayers like: Dear God, help and bless the people who were harmed. Guard them all with your care. Amen.
Discuss openly with children and youth what your family/congregation are doing to help those who have been hurt and are still hurting.
Limit exposure to continuing news stories and hold adult conversations only when children are not present. This will limit trauma by protecting children/youth from ongoing media images that may only contribute to fear and helplessness.
Reassure children and youth as you listen to their fears. Children and youth experience the same feelings as adults, so it is important and reasonable to validate their feelings while keeping a positive outlook on the future.
Share your own feelings with children and youth. Fear is a part of the human condition, and it is appropriate to affirm feelings of fear.
Contact organizations in your area that address the needs of children. Following traumatic events, these organizations are ready to answer your questions and respond to your concerns.
Provide structure through routine and activity which help regain a sense of control and security when so much feels out of control.
Encourage children to draw or write whatever comes to their minds, or give them a question to topic to draw about. Create a group mural or collage that illustrates the images children or youth have seen. Follow up by listening to what they may have to say about how they are feeling.
Do good. Doing good for other helps children/youth overcome the sense of powerlessness.
Ongoing Communication is helpful for validating feelings about the images they see and conversations they hear about traumatic events. Most importantly, end each conversation on a positive note by assuring children of God’s love. Scripture like, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” or “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him,” from Psalm 46 is one example of scripture that can bring comfort.
Resources Specific to the War in the Middle East
How to Talk to Kids About What’s Happening in Israel Right Now (guide for age-appropriate conversations)
Talking to Your Kids About War (step by step guide to talking with your kids)
Resources Specific to the Conflict in Ukraine
Download a pdf with all the resources to easily share with families
Talking about the Conflict in Ukraine (Real Kids, Real Faith)
A Collection of Prayers for Ukraine (not necessarily focused on children, but can be adapted or used as is)
Talking to Kids about the Ukraine Invasion (PBSSoCal)
Helping Children to Pray for Ukraine (Ministry Ark)
How Do We Talk to Kids About Scary Times? (Housman Institute)
Talking with kids about being Peacemakers: while this resource is a few years old, you may find pieces helpful to explore with your family. Especially the children’s book (God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams), the prayers for peace, and the symbols for peace.
Resources for Parents/Caregivers:
Talking with Children About Difficult Things in the News (Fred Rogers Center)
Resources for Church Leaders:
Leanne Hadley (Grief Resources and Holy Listening Stones)
Resources for Young Children
Traumatic Experiences Resources from Sesame Stress
Digital Playlists for Families
A digital playlist for families offers scripture, wondering questions, prayer, and activities to work through as a family. The playlists below relate to emotions and/or processing trauma.