Supporting children at home and school after a terrorist event

In the weeks following a terrorist event, whether you work in a school, are a parent, or you come into close contact with children through any other profession or activity, it is highly likely that you will see the young people in your care displaying behaviours triggered by stress, confusion or fear.

Following an event, it is important to know how to deal with these behaviours in order to help children best understand the context of what has happened, in a way that will reassure them and minimise stress. We have found a number of resources available across the web to support staff and parents to achieve this.

This article from Newsround is a great resource to direct young people towards. It offers reassuring advice for ways in which children and teens can share their worries in a safe way, and gives suggestions of things to do ‘that make you happy’ if young people are feeling upset after an event.

The PHSE Association has compiled two separate documents offering guidance on discussing terrorist attacks with pupils at both primary and secondary ages.

Childline have a dedicated webpage that provides definitions of terms such as ‘extremism’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘radicalisation’, as well as asking the important question, ‘What if you were someone else?’

The NSPCC provide a list of tips for parents who want to talk about the topic of terrorism with their children, and also offers links to advice and further support for both young people and adults.

One common theme that all of these resources share is not to ignore the issue, and to ensure that you explain events to children in an age-appropriate manner, acting in a calm, reassuring manner.