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Talking to children about terrorism
The attack at the concert in Manchester and the attack in London has, understandably, caused a lot of fear and anxiety amongst children and parents. It’s important not to ignore this, but to be open and honest with children, giving them a chance to tell you what they and their friends are saying and feeling. If you’re scared yourself, it’s ok to admit that, but you need to stay calm and tell children that these attacks are very rare, so the risk to them is very small.
For very young children, under six years old, the priority is to make them feel safe, so they may need more hugs and reassurance than usual. If you need to be away from them, give them plenty of warning. Tell children that the police are working very hard to keep us all safe. For older children, you can help them to help themselves by practising ‘strong thoughts’ and putting aside a short time each day to address their fears.
Professor Atle Dyregrov, an expert on children’s trauma, has written ’10 tips for talking with children and young people about terror’.