Although anxiety and even a bit of depression are considered normal in the wake of the recent traumatizing events, parents should be aware of signs that children may be having more serious problems that may require professional help.

“You really want to watch how much anxiety they’re showing at home,” says Linger. “If they’re clingy, they’re not sleeping, are complaining of nightmares, maybe are having a lot of sudden anger outbursts, that might also be a sign of distress.”

MacIntyre adds that how children interact with friends or at school may also be tip-offs of trouble. “If parents notice that kids are changing from their daily routine — maybe the child has always been really involved and outgoing and now they don’t want to go out and instead want to stay home close to parents — that might be a sign they are really affected by what’s going on.”

“Or if they suddenly aren’t hungry or are mysteriously not feeling good, the first stop then should be the family doctor. But if they can’t find something physically wrong, it may be a sign that a child is churning emotionally over these events and it’s coming out through physical symptoms. That’s not at all uncommon for younger kids,” he adds.

If you’re having trouble gauging how your child is handling recent events, and wonder whether he or she might not be resting easy as Halloween approaches, Linger has a simple suggestion: Talk to your child.

“You might want to just come out and ask them, what do they want to do this year? Do they want to stick with the same traditions or change the traditions?”

“And the spin doesn’t even need to be in the context of what’s going on in the world. You can just suggest that since the child is getting older, you wondered if they still want to do the same activities,” she says.

“Kids in general will let you know and if you’re sensitive and available, then you will hear that from them,” she adds.

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