Besides a supportive family, what helps? North advises getting children back into routines, together with their friends, and easing them back into a school setting. Studies of survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks found "the power of the support of the people who went through it with you is huge," she said.
Children as young as first-graders can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy, Georgetown's Biel said. They can calm themselves with breathing techniques. They also can learn to identify and label their feelings — anger, frustration, worry — and how to balance, say, a worried thought with a brave one.
Finally, avoid watching TV coverage of the shooting, as children may think it's happening all over again, Biel added. He found that children who watched the 9/11 clips of planes hitting the World Trade Center thought they were seeing dozens of separate attacks.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.
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