With advances in technology, elementary school children have more access to current events than ever before. While recent events have been challenging for adults, they can be even more stressful for children, who may not understand what they're seeing. To help them, here are a few tips for discussing the news with your kids.
3 Tips for Talking to Children About the News
1. Explain What Happened
When children hear frightening stories on television or from friends in their elementary school, they may perceive these events as happening nearby, which can be scary. While global issues like COVID-19 are exceptions, explaining that some threats are far away can help provide perspective and make them feel safe. For younger children, offering simple explanations of current events is best. Avoid over-explaining a situation to prevent further confusion.
2. Encourage Questions
Anxiety from world events can lead to behavioral changes in children. If you notice your child change from talkative to quiet, reach out to them and let them know it's all right to ask questions. Provide reassurance that their feelings and fears are valid and you're willing to listen and provide feedback when you can. Ask your children open-ended questions about the event they heard of, including how it made them feel. Understanding what they know will make it easier to answer their questions without overwhelming them with too much information.
3. Learn Together
Sometimes your child may ask questions that you can't answer, and that's all right. There isn't always an explanation for why bad things happen. In these cases, make them learning opportunities. Look for age-appropriate information that explains the situation or a similar event in history, as well as the outcome. Allow older children to drive the research themselves, though you can provide bi-partisan political resources, facts about civil rights in America, and science-based education on COVID-19. Learning about an event or situation together will encourage communication while alleviating their fears.
Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu provides a faith-based approach to education for children in kindergarten through high school. Since 1943, this established private school has given children the tools they need to further their education and relationship with God. Contact them today at (808) 536-6830 or visit them online to learn more about their elementary school programs.