Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Talking to Young Children About the Boston Tragedy

“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. Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Chances are that the children in your care may have heard something from the news, from classmates, or overheard adults talking about yesterday’s tragic events at the Boston marathon.  Overheard comments or conversations can cause a child to be in fear for his or her  safety. Yesterday's events highlight the importance of talking to children.
Listen to your child: 
If your children are asking questions take the time to talk with them calmly and honestly.  Most importantly, do not force children to talk about things until they are ready.  If they ask you about the bombings, ask them what they think happened and what they heard.  This way you will be able to clarify any misleading information or confusion and reassure them that they are safe
Answer their questions: 
Be sure to keep your answers developmentally appropriate and limit how much information you share.  Younger children need brief and simple information but mostly need reassurance that they are safe.  Like Mr. Rogers’ mother, quoted above, focus on the positive.  Instead of concentrating on yesterday’s terrible events, mention how quickly the police responded or how Bostonians opened their homes to cold and hungry runners.  This will help reassure the children.

Recommend that parents monitor screen time:
Caregivers probably cannot control what children hear or see when they are not with you but parents can monitor at home.  Parents should use an online newsfeed to prevent children from seeing disturbing images on the TV.  Repetitive traumatic photographs may scare the child.  There are many online resources both parents and caregivers can use to help young children if they are asking about the Boston Marathon.  Here are a few:

No comments:

Post a Comment