Social worker offers guidance on talking to children about Las Vegas shooting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Family Service of Providence is known for counseling children and young adults after a trauma or tragedy.

Eyewitness News on Tuesday sat down with Sarah Kelly-Palmer, a licensed clinical social worker, to get tips on how parents can talk to their children about the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“I think it is really important for us to encourage people to stick to their routines and not to live in fear,” she said. “Every kid is different so I think the most important thing is to open up that conversation and let them know that you’re there to talk.”

Depending on the age range of the child, Kelly-Palmer said different tactics are necessary.

“For kids in elementary school, it can be really confusing because they really can’t grasp a tragedy such as this, so you really want to check in and give as little detail as possible,” she explained. “But make sure that your child knows that the event is over. For really young kids, seeing it on the news over and over again can make them think that something terrible is still happening, so it’s really important to shield your kids from the media.”

As for older children and teenagers, Kelly-Palmer says it’s natural for them to become anxious about going to similar events.

“Trying to reassure kids that you can’t guarentee that something isn’t going to happen again but there are people out there working very hard to try to prevent it,” she said.

Kelly-Palmer says the number-one tip is to keep the lines of communications open with your children and reassure them that they are safe.