Last week's sniper attacks, coupled with this morning's shooting at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., can cause anxiety in children. Even things like having recess canceled can be upsetting to children because it is disruptive to their routines. The Montgomery County Crisis Center offers these signs of stress that parents may see in their children as well as tips on what adults can do to ease the fears of children.

Elementary School Children:

* regressive behavior

* irritability

* aggression, tantrums

* clinginess

* poor concentration

* agitation

* withdrawal from friends or increased need for contact with friends, family

* sleeping difficulties, including nightmares

* bedwetting

Middle School Students

* physical complaints including headaches, stomachaches

* poor school performance

* withdrawal from friends or increased need for contact with friends, family

* sleep difficulties

* loss of appetite

* increased frustration, anger, conflict with parents, peers

High School Students

All of the above plus

* irresponsible or delinquent behavior

* poor concentration

* lack of energy

What Adults Can Do:

* Share the facts in a calm and caring manner

* Let children share their fears and anxiety, perhaps through journal writing or drawing.

* Make sure the information you're giving the child is appropriate for their age and use words they can understand.

* Clarify misconceptions and restate facts as necessary

* All children to talk about the situation. Listenly closely to fears and concerns.

* Remain calm yourself

* Reassure children that emotional responses are normal. Tell them it's okay to be afraid and talk about it.

* Assure students that many adults are working together to make sure everyone is safe.

* Ask students what they have done in the past to help them through difficult times. List them and encourage the use those strategies.

* Talk about how students can support one another.

* Encourage students to make healthy choices in what they eat and drink and all more time for sleep and relaxation.

* Tell students it's okay to turn off the TV or change the channel so that they don't become overloaded with details of the incident.

* Be alert for students whose reactions seem especially intense or unusual. Consult with the school counselor or school psychologist if you have concerns or questions.