I know many experts are now speaking on the news programs and on line about how to talk to young children about this horrific event. What I'd like to address is what not to do.
Yesterday as parents were showing up for dismissal, many of them started to speak about the trajedy, thinking their own four year olds were busy on the playground and therefore could not hear them.
Today, as I did my grocery shopping, I saw several moms with young children in those car shaped carts, stopped next to each other. The mothers were discussing the events and various bits of information that they had gathered from the news. I'm sure in many homes the news has been on non stop while children are playing in the same room as the television.
I am writing to implore you to think about what these young children are hearing. They may look like they are happily playing and oblivious to what you are saying, but they can hear you. They are hearing sentences that include "in a school", "young children dead", "he shot the teacher", etc. They may not stop playing, they may not even ask you questions, but what they are hearing can be incredibly scary to them.
I know this horrible event is on our minds and we, as adults, need to process this by talking to friends and commiserating with each other. Please pause, however, and think of your young ones. Can they hear you?