There are days the world feels a little heavier. When your child doesn't quite understand what's happening and as their parent you don't know whether to tell them about the scary parts of life or let their blissful ignorance last a little while longer.
The aftermath of a school shooting is one of those days. Do we tell our children about the heartbreaking news story of yet another school shooting? Do we go over active shooter drills while they're eating cereal in the morning? How many times can we squeeze in "I love you" in the car ride before drop-off?
A lot of these decisions revolve around doing what's best for your family. Horrific school shootings are a reality of the world we're living in—the world we are raising our children in.
But even amidst the fog of sadness, anger and frustration, there is something we can do. In our power as parents and as citizens of this country, there is action we can take even when it feels helpless.
Here are 6 things parents can do in the aftermath of a school shooting.
In times like these, we may be feeling disillusioned by our government. But as our voices in Washington, it's important to reach out to your representative and make sure they understand what we're feeling. You can call, email, or write a letter to your state senator urging them to vote on gun reform. You can also get in touch with your congressman about gun control.
2. Call or email your child's teachers to thank them
Your child's teachers still have to show up for work despite their complicated feelings with their job. Thank the teachers for being there for your children. Ask if there's anything you can do to support them.
3. Educate yourself
The AAP supports gun control. Firearms disproportionately affect our children. Gun violence is an epidemic in America and here's what the AAP has to say about it: "We must implement common-sense solutions that have been proven to reduce these injuries and deaths."
4. Talk to your children
If it's the right choice for your family to speak to your kids about the school shooting, here is a resource guide.
5. Be kind to yourself
If you're feeling overwhelmed, you're not alone. Try these breathing exercises.
In the aftermath of a horrific tragedy, we all need a little extra love. Hug your kids and reach out to your friends and community for support. If posting on social media is an outlet for your emotions then post and engage in conversations help you work through your feelings.