by Thad Falkner, Head of School
As adults, we remember the sorrow and other deep emotions felt from the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. With Saturday marking 20 years since this tragedy, part of our attention is with reflection. Being parents, our attention probably also is with asking ourselves, how -or even if- we should talk to our children about 9/11.
Keeping in mind the span of developmental stages from PK to 6th grade, I’ll organize my advice based on departments of the school.
If you introduce this topic or find yourself in a position to respond because your child asks a question, experts suggest using brief statements- “September 11th is the same date that a tragedy happened, and it makes people sad to think about it.” For many children, this is enough information. If the discussion goes further, you might want to share that there were many heroes who helped and lots of people did things to support others. Keep in mind that young children may or may not show emotions that we normally attach to the subject (i.e. being solemn).
While the developmental age of your child comes into play, there are a couple points which ring true for all ages. Be an active listener; you’ll glean a lot about how much to discuss by following your child’s lead. I’ll end with this important point, all children benefit from the reassurance of hearing that they are safe.
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