DENVER (KDVR) — News about one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history has reached every corner of the country. Young ears and minds will be among those exposed to the atrocity.

For parents wondering how to address the heartbreaking topic, psychologists we spoke with say setting aside time away from distractions like TV and running errands is a good place to start. Then initiate the conversation and listen.

“Ask them what do they know? What have you heard?” Dr. Anat Geva, a clinical psychologist at the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, said.

Geva said if your child hasn’t heard about the mass shooting, consider sharing information at that point.

“It’s always better to hear about it in a controlled environment where you have more control not only of the narrative but the breadth to discuss it,” Geva said.

Questions to ask your children

Geva said it’s important to ask your children questions when discussing this sensitive topic.

“How does that make you feel? How are you feeling about going to school tomorrow? How are you feeling about your sense of security in your own school setting?” Geva said.

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, director and founder of The Child and Family Therapy Center at Lowry, said to make your kids feel reassured.

“I just want you to know that we are doing everything we can here and your teachers to keep you safe,” Ziegler said.

She also said to offer them comfort, especially the younger kids who may not express how they feel with words but may do so with actions. An example of that is kids wanting to sleep with their parents or having a nightmare.

“Tonight would not be the night to say no you’re fine, just go back to bed, everything is fine,” Ziegler said. “Take the time to lay with them, take the time to hold them.” 

She also advised parents to check in with their kids in the days to come.

“Once your child comes home from school, check in with them, regardless of the ages. Check in with them. How did your teacher seem today?” Ziegler said.