Dear Harmony DC Families,
It is with great sadness that we share this message in the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragedy in Uvalde, TX just west of San Antonio. I know many of us have been deeply affected by this shooting, and we stand in solidarity with the community as we mourn those whose lives were lost, and stand with the survivors and witnesses as they begin this difficult healing process.
We know safety is on your mind every day, as it is at the forefront of our thoughts as well. We want to assure you that even as the school year comes to a close, our vigilance is not waning. We will continue to ensure that your children, our students, have a safe and secure environment where they can learn and succeed, and that our team members have a safe environment in which to work.
We also want to share with you some tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping your children cope with news such as this.
What Parents Can Do:
- Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy. Tell them you love them. Try to help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
- Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and determine what you wish to say.
- Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will want actual physical contact. Give plenty of hugs. Let them sit close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to reassure them that they are loved and safe.
- Limit your child’s television viewing of these events. If they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off. Don’t sit rewatching the same events over and over again.
- Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don’t be inflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on tasks or falling asleep at night.
- Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children before bed. These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them in. Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.
- Safeguard your children’s physical health. Stress can take a physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure your children get appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
- Consider praying or thinking hopeful thoughts for the victims and their families. It may be a good time to take your children to your place of worship, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express their feelings and feel that they are somehow supporting the victims and their families.
Our hearts break for the victims at Robb Elementary community. Our counselor is available to speak with students who may have questions or who are struggling to comprehend this tragedy. Please reach out to your child’s school if counseling services are needed at any time.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
The following links provide information about mental health:
- Healthy Place (outside source)
- American Psychological Association (outside source)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (outside source)
- Safe Alternatives (outside source)
- Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (outside source)
- National Institute of Mental Health (outside source)
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (outside source)
- The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (outside source)
- School Mental Health (outside source)
- Center for Mental Health in Schools (outside source)
- Virtual Toolbox for Mental Health in Schools (outside source)
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) Mental Health Be Smart. Be Well (outside source)
- SAMHSA Coping with Disasters and Traumatic Events (outside source)
- Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Resources (outside source)