Experts weigh in on talking to kids after tragedy

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COLUMBIA - Talking with children on the matters of tragedy can be hard. 

Columbia Public Schools tells parents with children ages seven and eight start to begin to understand the concept of death, but won't fully grasp the full idea until age 11.

Columbia Public Schools encourages parents to talk to their kids about death, and to answer any questions as simply and honestly as possible. It is ok for a parent to say "I don't know" to their children if they aren't sure of the answer.

Stephanie Ross, parent of three said her and her husband try to be as open and honest with their kids as possible. 

“We leave the gory details out for the most part, but we still try to be honest with her [eight-year-old], and talk to her about what we do as a family to be prepared," Ross said.

Ross and her husband have these types of conversations with their kids in the car, at the dinner table and anytime it comes up in conversation. 

Ross said a big conversation in her household pertains to hurting the police. Ross's children ask her why people want to hurt the police. "They’re sad. It is more of a questioning with why is this happening. Why are these things going on. Why would anybody want to hurt the police," said Ross.

Ross is the director for TigerSide Intergenerational Preschool and said the preschool is prepared if children come and ask questions. The daycare will bring out books about death, and talk to the families individually about what their child is feeling.

Columbia Public Schools reminds parents to be patient in tough situations and let children talk about their feelings.

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