In this age, where information travels faster than the speed of light, we are constantly being bombarded with all kinds of news from across the globe. And, sometimes, it can feel like the stories that we are hearing are all negative. Between shootings, killings, and other forms of violence, what we see can start to overwhelm our senses, and make us either fearful, bitter, or a combination of the two. Add to that, the pressure of explaining current events to our children, and we may feel even more lost.
As an adult, it’s helpful to remember that the news relies heavily on ratings, which means that the more shocking the story, the more it will be told. Some even believe that different news stations slant the way that they present information, in order to meet a political agenda. But, whatever you believe, remember, that what you see in the news is not even close to everything that is going on around you.
Still, how can we explain the scary events that unfold to our little ones? Here are five tips to help ease young minds:
Remember Mr. Rogers
Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” This is actually fantastic advice, because it’s true. One of the amazing side effects of tragedy, is that it brings people together in a way that no other situation can. Teach your child to notice this, and it will bring her some relief.
Allow Your Child To Ask Questions
One way to do this, is to keep yourself calm. Be sure to allow space for your child to ask whatever questions he has, and to explore what he feels about what is going on.
Be Sure To Validate Feelings
Whatever your child is feeling is okay, and it’s important that you communicate that to her. Whether she is scared, sad, or angry, make room for her feelings, and let her know that they are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Depending on the age of your child, you might also share some of your own feelings with her. Kids as young as three can start to learn empathy, if we we teach them well, and sometimes, modeling our own ways of coping can be extremely helpful.
Don’t underestimate the power of statements like, “You are okay,” and “I am here with you.” When the world looks like it is falling apart, these simple affirmations can be wonderfully calming.
Make It A Teachable Moment
More than anything, what most of us really want is to know how we can help make our world a better place. If there was a tsunami, include your child in your efforts to contribute to relief funds. If a hate crime took place, find ways for you and your kids to do something nice for others. Anything positive that you can do with your youngster will give him a sense of empowerment, and some much needed hope.
If you would like more information on how to talk with your kids about current events, contact us. We are here to help.