You can’t watch the news without hearing about scary news. If we can’t get away from the news, neither can our kids. It can be worrisome to talk to your kids about things like this when you are anxious yourself and don’t have all the answers. Here is the best advice we could find from the CDC and experts:
- Take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to be calm for your family. Take some time off of the news. Do something you enjoy. Just check out for a while.
- Although we can assume your child has heard about it, it will help if you let the child start the conversation. Let her express herself and ask whatever questions she has.
- Answer questions calmly and honestly. If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you have an idea where to find the answer, look it up together. Don’t volunteer more information than he asks for.
- The most important thing for your child to know right now is that she is safe.
- Help your children and yourself feel empowered by doing what you can. For example, during a pandemic: Wash your hands and teach your children to do so. Stay away from other people, especially elderly and high-risk people, and explain to your children that we are doing that to keep them safe. Explain to them if they ask that this is also the reason why big events are being canceled and schools are closing.
- Keep news consumption to a minimum especially if your child is prone to anxiety. Too much information can give anyone anxiety.
- Use this as a teaching moment in media literacy for older children. Help them to know that not everything they see online is true. Some viral images and articles are based on rumors and inaccurate information. Direct them to reputable sources.
Keeping these 7 points in mind will help you and your child as you navigate this and future major news stories.
By Bethanie Ryan