We were deeply saddened to hear about the devastating bus accident that has taken the lives of so many on, and connected to, the Humboldt Broncos hockey team in Saskatchewan. News of this tragedy is all around us, so here are some key points to consider as you help your children understand what has happened:
- Encourage your child to understand that you are their number one source of information. If they have questions about things they hear about or see in the news, they should come to you first with those questions.
- Give them answers in an honest, but “just enough way”. Answer their questions with true answers that feel age appropriate, but don’t add extra detail or provide more information than they are seeking.
- Times of tragedy allow us to be strong and brave and to help each other. Point out to children all the things people are have done and are doing to help—from first responders to emergency room workers to ordinary members of the public who are assisting in some way.
- Encourage your child and your family to help in some way. Perhaps send a letter of thanks to the fire or police departments or to the hospital where those who survived are still being treated. Organize a fundraiser for a helping agency, such as the Red Cross, or contribute to official campaigns that have been created on behalf of the families of those lost.
Remember, we want our children to grow up to be empowered and compassionate problem-solvers, rather than fearful citizens who expect the worst to happen. In order to do so, they need to believe in the inherent goodness of the world and the people in it, and believe in our society’s ability to improve, or even solve, the vast and complex problems that we are facing today.
In the light of this tragedy, we at FamilySparks are making our “Coping with Death” and “Coping with Terror & Tragedy” online courses free as parents look for ways to explain this tragedy to their children, or process the loss if they are connected to Humboldt. We mourn the sudden loss of so many and hope that these courses help in some small way.