Tips on talking to kids about scary news.

21 Apr


With the recent horrific events occurring in our world, I thought I would write my blog about how to talk to your children about scary news and media. The other day after the Boston Bombings, I heard someone talking about the media and how it is nearly impossible to shield your kids from seeing terribly sad news and photos. Obviously, when these things happen, you want to watch the news to find out what is happening. I know that from the time I heard of what occurred in Boston on Monday, from the time they caught the suspects, I was constantly on CNN and reading my phone for updates.  I felt like I couldn’t relax until I found out what was going on. This can be a problem when you have your kids around, or even if they just walk into the room while you quickly change the channel so they don’t see the terribly tragic images. Your little ones are smart and know when something is going on. It’s almost impossible to hide these awful tragedies from them, especially if they are a little older. It can get really tough answering their questions or telling them of these situations without scaring them or making them feel unsafe.  I found some great tips that you can use or modify in ways that you prefer.

Keep it black and white. Yes, the world can be a cruel place, but little kids, well, can’t handle the truth.”Younger kids need to be reassured that this isn’t happening to them and won’t happen to them,” says Dr. Coleman. Parents may feel like they’re lying, since no one can ever be 100% sure of what the future holds, but probability estimates are not something small kids can grasp, and won’t comfort them.

Ask questions. Don’t assume you know how they feel. Instead, get at their understanding of what happened. “They might be afraid — or just curious. You have to ascertain that by asking things like ‘What did you hear? What do you think?'” says Dr. Coleman. “If they are scared, ask what they’re afraid of – don’t assume you know. They could be using twisted logic, like they see a building collapse on TV and think it’s Mommy’s office building. Correct any misconceptions, and then offer assurance.”

Don’t label feelings as wrong. Let them know that their feelings make sense, and that it’s ok to feel whatever they’re feeling. Never make them feel bad about being scared.

Use it as a teaching moment. Talking about bad things can lead to discussions about how to help others, and gives parents an opportunity to model compassion. Talk about donating to a relief organization, or make the message even more personal. “You can say, ‘It makes me think of Mrs. Smith in a wheelchair down the road – maybe we should make her a pot roast,'” says Dr. Coleman.

When tragedy affects someone your kids know Sometimes tragedy strikes closer to home, and there’s no way to shield your kids. If you’re dealing with the death of a friend or family member, be truthful about it, but offer some separation between what happened and what they fear might happen. “Say ‘Grandma was very old and very sick, but I’m not,'” says Dr. Coleman. “Distinguish yourself clearly from that person so your child can rest comfortably knowing Mommy’s not going anywhere.”

Courtesy of 🙂

Here is another good link that may help with ideas of how to talk to your kids also.

I hope some of these help!

Thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and our nation!

And to end with a phenomenal quote from the great, Mr. Rogers:


xoxo, Erica ❤


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