How to talk to kids about why Denver-area schools were closed

DENVER -- Parents across the greater Denver area have been grappling with the best way to talk to their children about why they weren’t at school Wednesday. Parents are also working to reassure their children that it’s safe to be in school on Thursday.

There’s no specific formula on what parents should do, because every child is different. The Problem Solvers have been sharing expert advice — guidelines parents can use to help craft the best message for their children.

Child psychologist Sheryl Ziegler says it’s OK to address what's happening -- even for the younger kids -- but don’t go into too many details.

For teens, use the tense situation as a teachable moment to discuss mental illness, safety and where we’ve come since the Columbine tragedy.

“Thank God they’re young,” said Reza Berahmand, a father of two young Jefferson County kids. “Young enough to not know better, because I don’t want them to ever have that fear.”

Berahmand kept the focus on Grandma visiting from Oregon as the reason his kids weren’t at school Wednesday. Other parents chose to address the issue specifically.

“This morning, we talked about being safe and the importance of being safe,” said one Denver mother.

She, like many parents, kept their conversations vague.

No matter the age, experts say parents should reassure kids that they’re safe and adults are working to keep them safe.

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