Every day we are hearing and seeing information about the Manchester bombings. It is on the news, it is on the radio, it is being talked about on the street, it has affected our families and our friends and has impacted thousands of lives.
During times like these it is vital we pay attention to the emotional states of our children and young people. It is so difficult to know what to say to them or how to make them feel better. We want to fix it for them and make it all ok again. Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t a way to fix things, but we can make steps to help them work through their thoughts and feelings.
Some of your students may have been at the concert that day. Others may know someone who was hurt. Some may simply be scared about what they are hearing.
You may find in weeks to come that there is a change in the behaviour of some of your students. They may begin to struggle to concentrate. The quality of their school work may decline. They may seem withdrawn or anxious or angry and aggressive. These are to be expected whilst they work out their thoughts and feelings.
We have put together some ideas you can take to help support your pupils in school.
- Encourage your students to talk.
Let them know that school is a safe place where they will not be judged for feeling scared. Maybe hold an assembly for the older year groups whereby you discuss the terrible event with them all. Allow them to hear that it is okay to be scared and explain how you will try to ensure the school are supporting each other through this time.
- If you need to speak about the attack. Use child appropriate language to explain the situation and try not to go in to too many details.
- If a child knows a lot about the incident and investigation try to contain this as not to alarm other children. Maybe take the child somewhere quiet so they can tell you about what they know and get it off their chest without allowing other children to hear details they may not be aware of. Try not to tell children off for talking about it. They are just trying to organise their thoughts.
- Maybe suggest the school hold a small event to remember those who lost their lives or were hurt. You could have a non-uniform day or bake sale to raise money for the families. This will help the children to feel as though they are doing something positive and have some control.
- Have an open door policy. Let the children know your door is always open should they want to speak to you at any time about their feelings. Remind them of this as the weeks go by.
- Have a post box in school where children can write a postcard about their feelings. Explain this box can be used to offload feelings if needed.
- Have a member of your pastoral team hold ‘drop in sessions’ whereby children can come for 20mins to draw a picture or engage in something relaxing for a while. *
- Offer therapeutic interventions to those children who you know have suffered directly or who are struggling more than others. This might be in the form of drop in sessions during lunchtime, draw it sessions or play therapy sessions. *
We hope these ideas are helpful. Please contact us directly for any support or advice during this time.
*Please contact us for more information regarding these ideas, we are happy to help!