* First, listen. Allow them to express their concerns and fears.

* Reassure them of their safety. This is important, regardless of their age. Tell them that you, the people at school, their friends, your neighbors, police and the community at large are all focused on their security.

* With younger children, limit the amount of information you share. Use language they can understand (not words such as "terrorist" and "retribution," for example) and keep it simple: Some bad people have used violence to hurt innocent people in the area. You don't know who they are or why they are doing this, just that they are. Don't go into specific details.

* Don't lie. School-age children probably are wondering, Can this happen in my neighborhood, or to me? Talk to them about how it's unlikely anything will happen where you are, or to them. Then reiterate how the community is focused on keeping everyone safe.

* Limit, or eliminate, their exposure to news broadcasts (depending on the child's age). Talking is the best way to share information with children. Be prepared to discuss these events again in the coming weeks.

* More detail is appropriate for preteens and teens, but be careful of how much media they are exposed to. Do not let them focus too much on graphic details; rather, elicit their feelings and concerns. Reassure them of their safety, regardless of their age.

* Watch for physical symptoms of anxiety such as headaches and other pain, trouble sleeping, refusal to go to school, excessive worry, irritability and increased arguing, loss of concentration, withdrawal and clinging.

* Talk with a school counselor, doctor or mental health professional if you are concerned about how your child is coping.

SOURCE: KidsPeace children's crisis charity