Student Well-Being

Student Well-Being / Creating Healing Classrooms / Positive and Supportive Communication with Children

Positive and Supportive Communication with Children

Here are some additional guidelines to help teachers communicate more openly with their students.

In discussing crises with children and youth, teachers should also:

  • Refrain from asking students to tell their individual stories. Recounting distressing events is usually beneficial to the speaker only if this is done spontaneously, within an environment where the child or youth feels emotionally secure and adults are professionally trained to provide support.

  • Ask whether students have questions, listen carefully and give honest replies.

  • Admit when they don't have specific answers and when they are unsure themselves.

  • Tell students that it is okay to feel afraid, confused, angry and guilty. These are all normal responses to a very abnormal crisis or tragedy.

Teachers should emphasize that:

  • Each student is valued and will be supported in this time of strife.

  • School is safe and central to the community.

  • Different reactions and uncertainties are okay.


NOTE: Teachers should be aware of appropriate referral services in recognition that some children who have experienced traumatic events will need further, individual support.

Click here for a printable version of these guidelines.

Click here for more information and ideas on communication with children.

Click here to learn more about addressing psychosocial needs in the classroom.