Tragedies are often tough for children to understand, but they often take over the news cycle and dominate conversations for children and adults.
A child with an innocent mind might find tragedies and stories on the daily news a little overwhelming. We’ve gathered a few suggestions on how to control what your child sees and hears about tragedies on the news.
5 Tips For Talking With Your Children About Tragedies
- Turn off the television: Yes, you want to make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest information on news stories and what's going on in your city or community. But, remember, your children are watching too. Turn off the news and tune-in to a child-friendly network or put in their favorite movie.
- Spend quality time with your children: Let them help you cook dinner, play a game or read them a book. Any of these will draw your children closer to you and take their mind off of what’s going on, even if it’s just for a little while.
- Talk to them: Your children may have already heard the worst there is when it comes to tragedies on the news. Speak to them about what they know, clear up any errors and let them share their fears.
- Reassure them: When children see scary events on the news, it’s not strange for them to be afraid the same will happen to them, their family or someone they care about. Let your children know that they’re going to be safe and that you are there to protect them. Put their mind at ease and remind them that you love them and that they are going to be safe.
- Tell them the positive things and point out the helpers: In every tragic situation, there is someone doing something good, whether that's helping out victims, raising money for the cause, or something else that shows the world is still a wonderful place. Everyone's favorite childhood "neighbor" Mr. Rogers once famously said to "look for the helpers" during any tragedy, and that's advice that works for kids as well as adults. Focusing on these facts will help your children see that there is still some good in the world.
No child is the same, so however you choose to speak to your child, keep the discussions appropriate to your child’s age and personality. As much as you want to protect them, they will still be exposed to tragedies at some level. So when it happens, hug them, love them, and remind them they have nothing to worry about.