How to Talk to Children About Tragic Events in the News

The way that news is presented on television can be quite upsetting for a young child. Any televised danger seems close to home. Even if children don't mention what they've seen or heard in the news, it can help to ask what they think has happened. If parents don't bring up the subject, children can be left with their misinterpretations. You may be really surprised at how much your child has heard from others.
So what can you say and do as a parent to help with their fears?

Stay Calm

Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure. This includes keeping your normal routine. Children (and adults) count on their familiar pattern of everyday life. Family Cuddling

Give Extra Hugs

Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing inner security. That closeness can nourish you, too.

Focus on the Good in the World

"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." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." -Mr. Fred Rogers Focus attention on the helpers, like the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers. It's reassuring to children to know there are many caring people in authority roles who are working hard to keep them safe.

Turn Off the TV

Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.

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