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A gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured 53 at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 12. Mateen, too, was killed after police broke into the building, where he was holding 30 more people hostage for several hours, and shot him. The night is known as the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

Mom, Dad: Here's Help Talking About Tragedy With The Kids

There are several online resources to help parents approach children about tragedy and loss in the news and every day life.

Sunday’s deadly attack on a nightclub in Orlando has kids across the country asking questions. And with school out for summer, that leaves a lot of pressure on parents to come up with answers. Here's a range of resources to talk about tragedy death and loss with children.

Here For Each Other

This bilingual resource — in English and Spanish, from Sesame Street and the New Jersey energy company PSEG — provides tips, ideas and activities to help adults and children cope with disasters and other stressful events.

Inside the Here for Each Other Family Guide (PDF), you'll find information on:

  • Comforting and reassuring a child after an emergency.
  • Modeling healthy ways of coping.
  • Monitoring media intake and correcting inaccurate information.
  • Looking for signs of stress in a child.
  • Taking care of yourself as a parent.
  • Answering common questions after a tough situation. 

The Spanish version is called Cuidádonos uno al otra-Guíapara la familia (PDF).


Camp Staffers Prepared To Talk With Concerned Kids 


Since North Texas summer programs are now in full swing, instructors and camp staffers are ready for questions. Lisa Marshall with Readers 2 Leaders in Dallas says talking to younger kids one on one is the approach her program is taking.


“It’s important to let kids know that we all work really hard to keep them safe and to keep us safe and that the takeaway message here is that it’s important to treat everybody that you come into contact with with respect and dignity and love," says Marshall. "And that if we’re all being kind to each other we’re going to make a better world where things like this maybe don’t happen.” 


Here's a one-page version called Safe & Sound: Parent/Caregiver Tips (PDF) -- six tips to help "your child feel safe, cope with the situation and be hopeful about the future."

And there's an app for that:


Articles From PBS Parents

Activities From PBS Kids


"When Something Scary Happens" includes videos from familiar PBS characters, activities for kids and resources for parents to prepare for emergencies, like natural disasters, and handle the emotions and questions that come with unexpected situations.


Videos From Sesame Street

  • "You Can Ask" -- for kids on how to ask about fears, losses and differences.  
  • "Here for Each Other" -- for caregivers on comforting kids through various natural disasters.

Thoughts From Mr. Rogers

The Fred Rogers Company site includes answers to common questions children might have after a tragic event.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

Have a suggestion to add to this list? Tweet us @keranews. We'll update the post with more resources.