Dear Jarrow Community,
We are looking forward to seeing the children back at school tomorrow and we hope that you were able to have some fun, positive experiences with your family over Spring Break. As we all know, life in Boulder has been impacted in ways we have yet to understand, but I truly hope that the children have been shielded as much as possible from the tragic events of last week.
Later today, our faculty will meet with Dr. Sara Knickerbocker (our former school psychologist) to discuss and develop a plan on how best to approach the events at King Soopers should it arise with the children. It is hard to know at this time how many children are aware of what happened and to what extent, so we will prepare for questions that may come up. We expect that questions from the children may arise when we least expect them or in the next weeks and months to follow. The best way we can help our children is to keep communication open and to share any concerns that might arise.
If your child has been directly impacted or has an awareness of what occurred, we would appreciate it if you could email your child’s teacher before Monday so they can be prepared. The teachers will send out a message at the end of the day on Monday to let you know if the topic came up in class and how they addressed the children’s questions.
Here is guidance from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Schools Committee that will help us all as we more forward:
• Maintain usual routines. A return to “normalcy” will communicate the message that the child is safe and life will go on.
• Give children choices. Often traumatic events involve loss of control and/or chaos, so you can help children feel safe by providing them with some choices or control when appropriate.
• Increase the level of support and encouragement given to the traumatized child. Designate an adult who can provide additional support if needed
.• Set clear, firm limits for inappropriate behavior and develop logical—rather than punitive—consequences.
• Recognize that behavioral problems may be transient and related to trauma. Remember that even the most disruptive behaviors can be driven by trauma-related anxiety.
• Provide a safe place for the child to talk about what happened. Set aside a designated time and place for sharing to help the child know it is okay to talk about what happened.
• Give simple and realistic answers to the child’s questions about traumatic events. Clarify distortions and misconceptions. If it isn’t an appropriate time, be sure to give the child a time and place to talk and ask questions.
• Be sensitive to the cues in the environment that may cause a reaction in the traumatized child. For example, victims of natural storm-related disasters might react very badly to threatening weather or storm warnings. Children may increase problem behaviors near an anniversary of a traumatic event.
• Anticipate difficult times and provide additional support. Many kinds of situations may be reminders. If you are able to identify reminders, you can help by preparing the child for the situation. For instance, for the child who doesn’t like being alone, provide a partner to accompany him or her to the restroom.
• Warn children if you will be doing something out of the ordinary, such as turning off the lights or making a sudden loud noise.
We hope you will join us tomorrow at noon for a Zoom check-in with Dr. Knickerbocker, who will provide ways to help you navigate conversations with your child/ren and to field any questions you might have.
Join Zoom Meeting
Monday, March 29 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Meeting ID: 879 2176 0033
If you are in need of any immediate support, please see the below for a link to list of services offered through Mental Health Partnerships and Trauma Services. We will also list resources on our website. https://www.mhpcolorado.org/community-in-mourning/