By Stefanie Bainum
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Parents may be hugging their kids a little tighter before they go off to school Monday morning. That's because it is the first day back to school after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that killed 20 kids and 6 adults.
"Don't know if I can let go of her hand when she gets on the bus," one parent said. "She'll be fine, but I'm going to be counting the hours until she gets home."
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., has created anxiety and fear for both parents and children across the nation.
But what's the best way to handle going back to school?
"It's important after a trauma that we get kids back to routines, so we can be kind and compassionate and acknowledge that it's difficult and address their concerns," said Dr. Jamie Howard of the Child Mind Institute. "But they do need to go back to school. It's in their best interests."
Experts say open communication and sticking to normal school routines is the best practice for dealing with trauma and that reassurance is a constructive method to tackle the difficult topic. Reassurances like reminding your kids of safety drills at school and of all the adults at school trained to keep students safe.
"So you remind them that there are adults out there whose job it is to keep them safe whether it's policemen, their school principal, their teachers," said Willow Bay, author of Talking To Your Kids During Tough Times.
Charleston County School District spokesman said its crisis team, made up of guidance counselors and other mental health professionals, is ready to mobilize at any moment. School officials said security protocol is in place for many different scenarios and that the plan is regularly tested.
To view the entire CCSD security plan click here.