Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Talk to Your Kids About Tragedy in the News

1. Explore your child's thoughts. If they ask a question inquire further. Find out what they know and how they feel about it - don't assume. Kids talk and have great imaginations - check in with what they know.

2. Validate your child's feelings with statements such as, " It was a scary event." Statements such as "Don't worry about it, you don't need to feel scared, or "get over it" are not helpful.

3. The news can make events that are uncommon feel as though they happen everyday everywhere affecting a child's sense of safety. Talk to your child about the news, how they focus on such events, and remind your child such disasters are not as common as the news may make it sound.

4. Get concrete. Talk numbers. For example, how many people go to the movies everyday, how many movie theaters there are in the world, how many times your child has been to the movies and has been safe, how many times you have been to the movies and have been safe. Remind your child they are safe and why.

5. Keep explanations simple and age appropriate. For children under the age of seven - shield their exposure to the news.

6. Check in with your teens. With technology today it is quit likely they have been exposed to information regarding the disaster. Talk to them.

7. Invite your child to get involved in a volunteer project to help others. This is a great tool in helping deal with disasters.