The Boston Marathon didn't end the way any of us expected. With families, including young children eagerly anticipating the arrival of the runners at the finish line, two deadly explosions shook the ground. So many young children witnessed it live and in person, and so many more saw it unfold on television. We can only say, "Not here. Not us" so many times before it really sinks in that tragedy can happen at any time in any place. It's important to remember to stay positive during these times.
1. Remain Calm
Our children can sense fear. They know when something isn't quite right. Imagine how they must feel to watch us cry or hear us say we're scared. If you stay calm, it's more likely you're children will stay calm both now and during any future tragedies.
2. Talk to Them
Don't ignore your child's request for information. Be open and honest about the events that took place but don't go into great detail. Each child will react differently to the bombings in Boston depending on age and personality.
3. Turn Off the TV
Carefully monitor what your child is watching at all times, especially now. The Boston Marathon bombings will be on the news for months to come, but the graphic and heartbreaking pictures and videos will also be shown in news promos and in news updates that can happen at any time. While you're at it, make sure you know what your child is viewing online. Keep that computer where you can see it.
4. Don't Hide
You may feel like keeping your children home from school to hide from the world. That's what terrorism does. It instills terror. Each of us wants nothing more than to protect our families. But there's only so much we can do. None of us knows when or how our time here will end. Living in fear won't change that. Don't lose your love for life or allow your child to either.
5. Show Your Love
We all want to feel better after a tragedy occurs. Right now, even if your child is saying it, she may need nothing more than you. So hug your children a little more often. Remind them that they are safe and they are loved. It will help them overcome their fears, and will probably comfort you a bit too.
6. Give Back
Be a role model for your child by working together to give back to those affected by the Boston bombings. You can donate to the families who were injured or lost a loved one, or to a local charity. The New England Patriots are even matching donations.
After any tragedy, whether personal or national, we all cope differently. It's an important time to make sure your children learn to cope, feel safe, and understand what happened as best as they can. The marathon may not have ended the way we wanted it to, but it won't end the way the terrorists wanted either. As so many Bostonians have already shown us, they are living strong and haven't lost their spirit. Terrorists can never steal that.