SPOKANE, Wash.—Talking with students after a school shooting or any form of school violence is a daunting task for any parent.

The National Association of School Psychologists shared tips for parents and teacher for how to talk about school violence.

Experts said letting the child’s questions guide the conversation will help indicate how much information to give them.

NASP said it’s important to be patient and emphasize the positive things that schools do to stay safe.

They also advised to watch for signs that a student might want to talk. Those signs are hovering around while parents do chores or other activities.

Being aware of signs that the student is having anxiety or is distressed about the situation is key to a productive conversation, according to NASP.

NASP said those signs include changes in behavior, anxiety, sleep problems, acting out or problems at school.

  • NASP suggested the general key points parents should hit when talking to their children are: Let your child know there is a difference between gossiping and reporting a potential threat. You can provide important information, either directly or anonymously, that may prevent harm by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
  • Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Providing children with opportunities to do things they enjoy, sticking to a normal routine, and being with friends and family can help students feel better and keep them from worrying about the event.
  • Students can be part of a positive solution to school violence by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.
  • Remember it's okay to admit you don't have all the answers.

NASP said communication between parents and schools is critical to providing correct information to a student who has been through a school shooting.