OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Hearing about the deadly school shooting in Texas impacts all of us in one way or another, especially teachers, parents and students.
A Kansas City area author is helping kids process trauma through books.
Andrea Burns spent eight years teaching in the classroom. Now, she’s taking on a new role — hoping to help kids cope with big emotions through books.
Burns experienced burnout in the school system, but she still has a passion for kids’ education. She turns the page in her own story.
“It really goes through how their parents might react,” Burns said.
This Overland Park author wrote, “Failure Friday.” It’s a social-emotional learning picture book that encourages our youth to keep going after a figurative fall.
“Saying, even if I fail, I’m going to move on from this and I’m going to keep going so that I can succeed in life,” Burn said.
Her social media point parents and educators to different books that can help navigate tough conversations.
Children now face so many different types of traumas. Most recently, the deadly school shooting in Texas.
“They whisper and I pretend not to hear. it is more than a little scary,” Burns read from the book, The Breaking News.
Dr. Jami Gross-Toalson said caregivers should recognize the importance of open communication and the ability to talk through things in the moment.
“So, when parents open the door and say hey, it’s ok for us to talk about this, it feels a little lest scary for kids,” Gross-Toalson said. “It ensures that we, as their parents, are the ones that are helping them understand and process it in a way that feel safe to them and feel safe within the family.|
She said most kids who go to school have already participated in lockdown drills. They may not know what it means, but it could still be scary.
“We want to be the ones that they’re coming to with their questions,” Gross-Toalson said.
Tragedies can be difficult to understand at any age. It hit close to home for Burns, a former 4th grade teacher.
“I just envisioned what I would do in that situation, and I would do exactly what those teachers did, protect those kids,” Burns said. “The fact that they had to do that is very upsetting.”
Burns said books like “The Breaking News” tell a story from the child’s perspective — making it easy to relate.
Gross-Toalson said there’s no real right or wrong age to talk with kids about tragedy.
“Really one of the best things we can do is say, I’m here, as your mom or dad or grandparent and let me know when you’re ready to talk about this,” Gross-Toalson said. “We want to be the ones that they’re coming to with their questions so that they’re not getting misleading information, or that they’re not hearing things without a safe place to process that.”