Posts Tagged ‘ sandy hook ’

Rosie to the Rescue: Why I Won’t Tell My Kids About Sandy Hook

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

It’s hard to think of much else this week other than this terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I’ve struggled to make sense of it, and at the same time wondered how or what to tell my young children in these times, if indeed they should be told anything. I am torn between trying not to think about it, and then forcing myself to in some way pay respect to all who fell victim that terrible day. I am sure you are struggling with the same things.

I have not told my children about this tragedy. My oldest is only 4.

I remember as a child hearing of a plane crash and being terrified of flying. I asked my dad to promise me that the plane we were on would not crash. Even at that young age, part of me knew he could not truthfully promise such a thing, but as my dad, my protector, that didn’t matter. As long as I could hear him utter the words that it was safe to fly, I could believe in them. I still do.

A very wise woman, who I respect endlessly, told me, “Keep this tragedy from our young children. Do not carelessly leave newspapers lying around, do not leave the TV on, and tell all caregivers not to speak of this in front of them.” Our little ones, between ages two and five, need to know they are safe, even when we are not always sure ourselves how true that is. They do not need to know of this unspeakable act; their worlds need to be warm and fuzzy, full of love and comfort.

If my four-year-old hears about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, I will do the same thing my dad did. I will promise my son he has nothing to fear and that he is safe. That this terrible thing happened, but everyone is doing all that they can to make sure it never happens again, and he has nothing to fear.

Hold your children close to you, and let’s stand together to try and make sure a tragedy like this never does happen again. So we can be sure that when we talk to our children, there is no longer a reason to lie.

For information and resources on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

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6 Ways to Help Families of Sandy Hook Victims and the Newtown Community

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, several funds have been created to help families of the victims and the community cope and recover.

We’ve rounded up a few of the ways people can send their condolences, thoughts, and donations:

1. On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) created an address where people can send condolences to those affected by the shootings. Send notes to:

Messages of Condolence for Newtown
PO Box 3700
Newtown, CT 06740

2. My Sandy Hook Family Fund donations will help families meet immediate expenses, including funeral services, food, mortgage payments, day care, insurance, and fuel. To make a donation, visit the website or send a check to:

My Sandy Hook Family Fund
c/o Union Savings Bank
1 Commerce Dr.,
Newtown, CT 06470

3. The Newtown Memorial Fund has three missions: to provide financial support to families for funeral services, to assist the town in creating a memorial for the victims, and to create an annual college scholarship for students of the Newtown public schools. To make a donation, visit the website or send a check to:

Newtown Memorial Fund
PO Box 596
Botsford, CT 06404

4. The Sandy Hook School Support Fund was set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut to provide support services to those affected. To make a donation, visit the website or send a check to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470

5. American pop rock band OneRepublic has created a page for Sandy Hook on popular fundraising site indiegogo. The band will accept donations through January 14; as of press time they raised $71,000 to benefit the families of the victims. To make a donation, visit OneRepublic’s Sandy Hook page.

6. The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has organized a snowflake-making effort for students of Sandy Hook who will resume their education in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to decorate that building with a winter wonderland theme and encourage volunteers to send their own creative snowflakes. The deadline to send snowflakes is January 12, 2013. As well, donations will be accepted to the Connecticut PTSA Sandy Hook Fund to provide support to the community. Snowflakes and donations can be sent to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

For more information and resources on coping with the Sandy Hook tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

Image: candle flame via Shutterstock

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Teach Your Kids (And Yourself) What to Do if You’re in a Situation Like Sandy Hook

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

One of the things that makes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary even more horrifying to me is that the school seems to have done everything right—the building was locked and had a camera surveillance system, the teachers were well-trained in emergency procedures—but it still didn’t prevent Adam Lanza from getting in and killing 26 people.

Safety experts like Trevor Pyle, who has worked with many top disaster and emergency service agencies, stress that the tragedy could have been much worse. “The teachers and staff did the right thing, and their actions saved countless lives,” he told me in an interview.

There are certain behaviors that could make it more likely for you (and your child) to make it out of a situation like that alive—like six-year-old Aidan Licata and his friends, who ran when the opportunity presented itself, or one little girl, the only survivor from her classroom, who played dead. Here’s what Pyle suggests:

For kids:

• Tell them to listen to their teachers and school staff members. They receive extensive training on what to do and how to take care of the children. So tell them to recognize when the teacher is serious, and follow directions.

• Make sure that they pay attention during the drills, and know what to do when they are told to evacuate.

• Tell them to tell an adult if something appears to be “weird,” and that they aren’t going to get in trouble if they are wrong. Better to be safe than sorry. If they see something, make sure they say something.

For adults:

• Always know where at least two exits are. If you can, escape. If you can’t, hide. If you have to, fight with everything you have.

• If you can run, bring everyone you can with you. Get out of the building, and don’t stop until you find cover. Warn other people away from the building and call 911. Report your location. When cops arrive, keep your hands clear and don’t approach them. They aren’t there to rescue you, they are there to stop the shooter.

• If you have to hide, close and lock the door, turn out the lights, and mute your cell phone. Don’t move until the cops arrive.

• If you have to fight, improvise a weapon and attack. Target the shooter’s head, and torso. Do not hesitate, and don’t stop until he is down.

Hopefully, this is the kind of information you won’t ever have to use—but it may just save your life.

For more information and resources regarding the Sandy Hook Tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

Photo: © Vividz Foto/Shutterstock.com

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What to Say About the Sandy Hook Tragedy Before School Tomorrow

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

I tried hard to shield my children, ages 4 and 7, from what happened in Connecticut, taking the advice of so many mental health professionals who advise telling young kids as little as possible about the events. But as I’m sure lots of you experienced yourselves, it’s nearly impossible, even if you kept the TV off all weekend, as we have. For our family, the radio interrupted 24/7 holiday music with condolences to the families of Newtown; going online offered a glimpse of CNN’s home page; and even a trip to the bagel store, where three piles of newspapers sat by the door, revealed too much. So like many parents, we’re having some tough conversations and doing the best we can.

What I’m concerned about now is what may come up at school tomorrow. My 2nd-grader’s teacher has notified us that she’ll say nothing of the events, though if it comes up she’ll discuss it as briefly and simply as possible, which I appreciate. I feel like I need to say a little more to my daughter before she returns to school, though, and I was glad when I got an email from a friend who works with the New Jersey nonprofit Good Grief, which helps children and teens cope with loss. She forwarded these words of guidance from Good Grief’s associate executive director, Joe Primo; perhaps you’ll find them useful, too.

Having a conversation about the shooting this weekend is probably a smart and important thing to do before school on Monday.  Classmates will have their own interpretation of the events; many of those narratives will have been learned this weekend from the media and the adults in their lives. There is not a lot we control about these events, but we can play a big role in how our children hear and come to understand the events. We can best support our children by having an honest dialogue that helps build coping skills and taps into their inherent resiliency. Below is a script you might try.

Adult: So, Alex, have you heard about the sad thing that happened to a school in Connecticut?
Don’t assume Alex doesn’t already know. She may have picked it up already.
Adult: Somebody hurt a lot of children with a gun. It’s very sad. Children died.
WAIT to see how the child responds.
Adult: I think a lot of your friends and teachers will be talking about it on Monday. I would like us to talk about it too.
Allow the conversation to happen and be spontaneous. Here are some things you should know about reactions:
  • No child ever responds the same
  • Children may have an increased sense of fear for their safety
  • Children may be afraid to return to school or name “scary kids” in their school
  • Child process information in fragments. They may take it in and then quickly move onto something else.
Adult: I wonder how these things happen.
Wait to see if the child has ideas of her own.
Adult: Assure the child that their school (name administrators and teachers) works hard to keep them safe. You can encourage them to listen to their teachers about safety protocol. Assure them of your love and allow them to explore their reactions.
Often times, being together and offering each other love are the most meaningful things we can tell our children.
For more on the Sandy Hook tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:
Image via Good Grief.
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The Tragedy in Sandy Hook

Friday, December 14th, 2012

It’s hard to find the right words—or really any words—to describe what happened today. For what happened today at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, was every parent’s worst nightmare, made real and flashed on the TV news. What I see is a school that’s virtually identical to my daughters’ idyllic little elementary school, and parents and kids who look like our friends. And words fail me as I think of my friends rushing toward the school, and a scenario where some walk out, teary-eyed and clutching their children close—and some don’t. What are the right words for that?

There will be much to talk about in the days and weeks to follow, as more information comes out about what occurred, and who was lost, and why this happened. As we begin to dissect our country’s deep failings: Our inability to pass gun laws that keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them; our lack of care for the mentally ill (for surely, a person who would plot and plan to attack children with an arsenal of assault weapons must be mentally ill); and our inability to keep even our youngest children safe from harm. And as we, hopefully, push for the changes we need to make to prevent another Columbine, another Virginia Tech, and now, another Sandy Hook.

Right now, these are the only words I can find: Our kids deserve a better world than this. And we need to work together to make it happen.

For information and resources on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

Image: fasphotographic /Shutterstock.com

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