Here’s What I Told My Kindergartener about CT

Friday was my day off last week.  I was home with my kids.  And they drove me crazy.  We rushed to swim lessons.  Charlotte threw a fit about her new swim instructor. 
There were tears. 
Afterwards, I got all four of us dressed and there was a snack issue with Stella.
There were tears.
We dropped Stella off for school and came home.  Henry didn’t want to take a nap.
There were tears.
I got a shower, entertained the kids and cleaned up the house a bit.  I finally turned on the computer at about 2:45 PM and saw the headlines.  Anything I thought about blogging about seemed trivial.
There were tears.
Neighborhood girlfriends came over from 3:00-5:00 for the witching a Happy Hour.  We drank, we ate, we drank, we talked, we were in shock.
There were tears.
Everyone left.  Dinner with the neighbors helped take thoughts away from so much sadness.  But then after bedtime I finally sat down and watched some of the news.
There were tears.
I filled the rest of my weekend with happy things…a birthday party, a massage, a holiday party, Church School Christmas celebration, a jazzed up Nutcracker performance and gathering everyone in the car in their pjs tonight to drive around the neighborhood and look at the lights.
But what will tomorrow bring?  When my kindergartener goes back to school?  What will she hear from the older grade schoolers at daycare?  What will she hear on the bus?  And at recess?
As I glanced at Facebook this afternoon, everyone was either preparing their kids or asking for advice on how to, or giving advice on what worked.  And questioning, how old was still too young to know anything??  And then it hit me…I had to tell her something.  My Stella would freak out if she heard anything from anyone else first. 
So I did what most did, asked for advice on my own blog FB page.  There’s lots of great comments over there from very smart moms.  I thank you.  And the key is, you have to do what’s right for your kid and your child’s age.  You know them best.
Here are the key points I told my 5 1/2 year old kindergartener:
1. Something very sad happened.
2. A school far, far away had a bad event on Friday.
3. I was telling her about it just in case she heard something on Monday from someone.  I didn’t want her confused or scared.
4. A very bad man hurt some of the children at the school.
5. Stella’s daycare and school are always locked and she is very safe.
Here’s when she walked me through how I have to put in a code for our daycare and also be buzzed in the door at her school.  She said something (I don’t remember exactly) that told me she assumed the school in CT wasn’t locked.  I didn’t correct her, I just moved on.
6. Mom and dad and all her teachers will keep her safe.
She told me I forgot about her bus driver.  She then asked what happened to the bad man.  I sad that the police got him.  I left out all other details.  She asked where the kids went.  I told her to the fire station.  Again, no other details.  Just that they were hurt.
7. This is not something to discuss with Charlotte and Henry.
8.  This is not something for her to tell other kids.  It’s up to mommies and daddies to talk about this kind of stuff.  Other kids may not know.  It might scare other kids to not hear it from their own mom or dad. (she nodded)
9.  If a kid starts telling her something she doesn’t want to hear, just say “I don’t want to hear this” and go tell a teacher.
10.  If she has any questions about anything she hears, she should talk to me after school.
Then I stated once more that this was a private conversation.  And again, something not to be talked about with her friends.  I compared it to her vagina.  For real.  Something fine to talk about at home, but not something we talk about openly.  She got it.  She finally said, “Well, what if I just forget about it?  Wouldn’t that be best?”  And then walked away.
She did come back a bit later and said she was feeling a little scared.  So I just reassured her again and she hasn’t mentioned anything else.
Not a conversation I wanted to have or even planned to have.  But I agree with so many other mothers, I want her to hear anything from us first.  That way if she does hear something tomorrow she feels clued in and not taken by surprise…which she does not do well with. at. all.
Now, if she comes home tomorrow and asks if kids were really killed?  Shot?  Did teachers die??  I have no clue how I’ll answer her.
How did you handle all of this with your children?  And how old are they?



6 Responses to Here’s What I Told My Kindergartener about CT

  1. Tricia, great post. I havent said anything to Addy. It really hadnt even crossed my mind. We still do not really have our TVs up yet, so none of us has watched anything. I clearly know what went on, and it saddens me deeply. Addy has preschool tomorrow. I pray that since it is only preschool, no other kids are talking about it. Thanks for the post. I’ll have that in my back pocket, should i need it.
    hugs to you and your littles!

  2. LOVED THIS post. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I’ve decided not to tell my 4 year old who is going into her last week of preschool before we start homeschooling. I’m hoping at this young age, a lot of kids in class won’t be talking about it (and she hasn’t seen it on TV). I’m hope I’m not wrong…

  3. We haven’t specifically told Melanie (4, goes to Head Start in a refurbished elementary school) anything, but the 6 PM local and 6:30 PM national news have been watched in her presence. I don’t think she pays much attention. If something on there does pique her attention, she usually asks us about it. I’m also praying that her class is young enough (3 and 4 year olds) that they won’t be talking about it, but I think I might use the idea of “If someone tells you something that you don’t want to talk about or hear about, then tell them I don’t want to hear about this and tell a teacher.”

  4. I told my 6 & 8 yr old boys. The 6 yr old didn’t seem interested, he may not have really been listening. But the 8 yr old watch a bit of the news online with me (we are blessed to not have cable tv)and he asked if this is why I homeschool him (we are blessed to be homeschoolers).

    I suggested to my boys that they pray for these families. We are Christians and praying for others is a part of our lives.

    I think if my boys were in public school, especially riding the bus to /from school, we would have more fear issues of our own to deal with- mine and at least my oldest (who I think would be afraid to leave home).

  5. I didn’t tell my kids (oldest is almost 7) and when I was talking to some moms who have older kids at Cub Scouts last night, they were not planning to tell their kids either. I do admire your proactive approach and think your talking points were perfect. I certainly hope my son doesn’t hear about it from someone else, but he is prone to anxiety so I wanted to gamble that he wouldn’t hear at all. We’ll see.

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