With everything going on in the world right now, it comes as no surprise that many children are left feeling anxious and scared about all of the changes going on in their lives.
It isn’t easy to shield your child from this kind of news in such a digital age. However, there are ways you can talk to your child to help them better process everything.
Here are our top tips:
Be Honest With Your Child
Your child probably realizes something is going on without you having to say anything. It’s easy for them to notice the changes in their surroundings and how people are interacting. Instead of trying to shelter them from the news or closing web pages if they approach you, try to be honest with them instead.
Take a balanced approach and use common sense. Give them clear and honest explanations of what is going on, and let them know that it’s okay for them to reach out to you if they feel worried or scared.
Acknowledge their Worries
Your child needs acknowledgment that it’s normal for them to feel concerned. That it’s normal for their parents to feel concerned when events like this happen in their lives.
Help them realize that when bad things like this happen, that it isn’t something that happens often—so it isn’t something they need to be scared about all the time. Reassure them that your family is taking the proper precautions to help keep everyone safe.
Reassure Your Child
Speaking of safety, it’s important to let your child know that they’re safe. That you’re working to keep them safe, and that they can trust you. You can do this by being honest with them about the facts involved. Explain the risks and what you’re doing to ensure your family’s safety.
By taking the time to explain the situation to your child, it helps your child feel like they’re not being dismissed by telling them that everything is just fine.
Your Child’s Age Matters
While it’s important to be truthful, it’s also important to keep your child’s age in mind. Tailor your conversation to your child’s age, temperament, and sensitivities.
If you have more than one child, you can speak to them separately in a way that best meets their ability to understand what you’re trying to explain.
Allow Them to Ask Questions
Don’t be dismissive if your child has a lot of questions. This is their way of trying to understand everything going on around them. It is common for children to misunderstand, especially during what is undoubtedly a traumatic situation for many.
Encourage your child to ask questions. This can help to discourage them from imagining the worst and making up what they don’t know. Often their imaginations can be worse than the reality and they can become overly fixated. Talking to them about it and allowing them to ask questions can help to combat this.
Don’t Overdo It
You don’t want your child to get swallowed up by all of the bad news, and you don’t want them to dwell on it. Allow the conversation to happen in smaller doses, and don’t keep the news on all day where they might hear negative stories repeatedly.