As a parent it's natural to want to shelter your child from all of the bad things in the world, but when tragedy happens it's important to help your child understand and cope.

Tragedy -- such as a natural disaster, mass shooting or terrorist attack -- is hard to talk about no matter your age, but when dealing with children there are a few things to keep in mind when starting the conversation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, before you talk to your child you should think about what you want to say and then let them guide the conversation by asking questions. Find out what he/she knows about the situation and what questions your child might have so you know how to begin the conversation.

Your child's age will also affect how they process a tragic event, so the Mayo Clinic suggests treating the conversation with your preschooler differently than you would with your high school aged child. You can look over their tips on their website.

Just remember to focus on the basics, tell the truth, and listen to your child to make sure they fully understand what has happened.

[via Mayo Clinic]