Thursday, December 5, 2013

6 Tips for Talking to your Child about the Kuna Bus Accident



In response to the bus accident in Nampa this morning, I wanted to reach out to parents with some tips on how to talk to your kids about the accident. Sadly, a dump truck and a Kuna school bus collided in Nampa causing injuries and death in at least one child. Just hearing about the news is devastating, and helping your child cope can feel overwhelming.  Use these tips as guidelines when talking to your child about the accident.  Remember though, that you are the ultimate expert on your child.  You know them better than anyone, so trust your instincts in how to deal with this sensitive issue.

1. Break the news.
Talk to your children about the bus accident if you know that he/she will find out eventually.  If possible, you want to be able to control how they first hear the news.  Use your judgment.  If you know that your child will see it in the news or is old enough that his/her friends are hearing the news, then talk to them about it.

2. Be calm.
No matter what you are telling your child, if you yourself are noticeably anxious, that is what your child will likely pick up on.  If you need to, practice deep breathing before the conversation.

3. Be reassuring.
Talking about death is never easy, but an accident involving children is especially difficult because of how egocentric children are.  They will likely wonder if this could happen to their bus.  Tell them how unlikely something like this is and stress all the important safety measures that are taken to prevent something like this from happening again.

4. Be developmentally appropriate.
Don't offer too much information, but rather let your child lead the discussion.  If they have questions, be ready to answer them, but it is not necessary to go into details that your child has not asked about.  They may need to talk about the Kuna bus accident more than once.  It may not be necessary to bring it up again, but make sure that they know they can ask you any questions about it in the future.  They may hear things from peers at school and want to fact check with you.

5. Be available.
If you notice your child is upset, try to make yourself very available.  Spending time together as a family can be very reassuring, as well as ever- day routines .  Making sure you are present for your child when you are in the same space is important for him/her to feel connection to you.  Remember that your love and attention provide safety and security.  Be aware of the activities that so easily distract us like electronics.

6. Do an activity to help process grief.
If your child expresses sadness for the victims of the Kuna bus accident, you may encourage him/her to do something to memorialize the deceased and/or support the injured.  Drawing pictures and making cards are some positive ways of providing closure to the grief they feel. 



www.wellnesscounselingcenter.org

6 comments:

  1. I was never informed from any official I found out from news article. Shame on you ksd my 5 year old baby was on that bus I never received a call. I am first on list of contact

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