Aurora Tragedy: talking to your kids and resources

July 19, 2012
By: Vicki Little

Parenting is hard enough without facing the harsh realities of life and not knowing what to say or do for your children. When things like the shooting at the Aurora movie Theater happen, we are faced with a delicate balance of letting our children know about what can really happen in life but also not scare them from leaving the house. My children are still pretty young at 3 and 5, but my five year old is very smart, and he has questions that he wants answered. Since I found out about the event right before I went to work, I made sure his dad is keeping him from the news until I can have a chance to talk to him. With technology these days, I am not naïve enough to believe I am going to get through this whole day without him seeing something. And even if I do…if I am watching a show I recorded three days from now and get up to grab a glass of water, he can still see a news flash then. He is getting old enough that I don’t think I can completely avoid it anymore, but I certainly don’t want to terrify him, either. So I talked to some other moms, read some other articles, did some research and here is what I have come up with in terms of talking to my kids about the tragedy.

  • If everyone in your family/friends circle is okay, assure your children that everyone you know is fine; that they are fine and that they are safe. Tell them that things like this don’t happen all the time, but unfortunately sometimes they do and you can’t always control what happens.
  • Take this time to talk a bit about HOW to stay safe in situations that they CAN control. Knowing where they are at all times, stranger safety, knowing their phone numbers, having meeting spots if something does happen. Give them back a sense of control that they feel they lost.
  • Let your children ask questions; tell them they can ask anything they want. When answering, be sure to use language appropriate with their age level. Don’t be too graphic or descriptive. Don’t avoid answering in some way. If they are asking a question, they are concerned about it. Be prepared for the big questions like “are you going to die?” or “can this happen to me”.
  • Watch your children for their reactions. They may seem extra clingy, scared, fearful or confused. Trust your mom gut. If you feel they need to talk to someone else, there are resources listed below for you. Give lots of extra hugs and reassurances.
  • After the talk is over, keep an eye out for signs of stress. Call their Dr. or counselor or use the resources below if you see signs of stress such as lethargy, stomach pains or headaches, lack of interest or general feelings of fear.



Children’s Hospital has set up a Family Support Line at 720-777-2300 to help families who need advice or help finding resources. The line is open from 8 am to 6 pm and a behavioral health specialist will return calls within 24 hours.

There is a facebook page keeping up with details and information. You can find that HERE

Victim information line 303 873-5292

Aurora Police tipline 303 739-1862

Bonfils Blood Donation 303.366.2000

The Disaster Distress Helpline (a program of SAMHSA) is available for support: call us 24/7 toll-free at 1-800-985-5990 or text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746; calls and texts are answered by trained, caring counselors from call centers across the U.S.


There will be a prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal Building (15151 East Alameda Parkway Aurora 80012) at 7:00pm

NEW LOCATION FOR THE 7PM PRAYER VIGIL WITH REPRESENTATIVE RHONDA FIELDS! Kaiser Permanente 14701 E Exposition Ave., Aurora (Across from the Theaters)

There will also be a candlelight vigil at the theater tonight at 8:00pm planned by Scott Davidson of Aurora. He encourages wearing black or Gateway orange in support and will meet across the entrance opposite the theater in the large parking lot.


Thrive Community Recreation Center will be having a refuge/community meeting place to share their feelings/unite in the wake of the tragedy from 1-5pm. All are welcome; this will be open to the public. This is a time for our community to come together as a "FAMILY"!!

They are accepting donations of any kind such as bottled water, juices, soft drinks and snacks for this community gathering. Donations can be delivered directly to the Rec Center at 15528 east Hampden circle, Aurora, co 80013, and would be appreciated before noon on Sunday.

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