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Local counselor keeps explanations of active shootings "simple and to the point" with kids

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A local counselor says it's important to have a conversation with children about an active shooter situation and shares how to alleviate children's fears following the recent shootings in Texas and Ohio.

A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, police said on Saturday, August 3.

RELATED | 20 dead, more wounded after gunman attacks Texas shoppers

Ten people are dead including the shooter after a gunman opened fire overnight on Saturday, August 3, in Dayton's Oregon District. There were 31 people injured in the shooting.

RELATED | Officials identify gunman, 9 victims in deadly Dayton mass shooting

Nina Dillon at Family Insight says the biggest key when talking with your kids about these shootings is to keep explanations simple and to the point.

With social media, there's a pretty good chance your children are aware of the news.

That's why limiting the amount of exposure to graphic content is the first step.

Dillon says it's important to reassure them that they are safe and make sure they know who they can talk to when they feel afraid.

Parents need to validate their kid's feelings and allow your kids to ask questions.

And with children heading back to school, Dillon says you should explain the importance of school safety drills.

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"Unfortunately, the reality is that it is and we need to prepare our children," says Dillon. "They're also going to see it and once that image has been viewed, that's very confusing, particularly for a younger child, so it is very important to talk about it."

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