Difficult Topics with Children

Recently, as well as in the past, we’ve been bombarded with upsetting, sometimes tragic, news stories describing the sometimes turbulent world around us.  What to do and what to say falls well outside of the scope and space available in this quick monthly snippet.  I can recommend that we parents and teachers have some idea of what to discuss, what to say, and how to help, before a child asks us for clarification about the images or topics they may have seen or heard discussed. The following notes are borrowed from the Applebaum Training Institute.

  • Try and come to terms with your own feelings before talking to children so that they see you calm.  Children catch their moods from you.
    •    Turn off the television.  Seeing the graphic images is terrifying.
    •    Give children opportunities to talk about their feelings.  Let them vent.
    •    Give them opportunities to ask questions.
    •    Teach them relaxation exercises, like deep breathing.
    •    Children feel safe with traditions. Have some daily rituals that stay the same no matter what is happening in the world.
    •    Remind children that the world is a good place, even if a few people do bad things.
    •    Promote lessons of kindness, diversity, and respect for all people so children learn early on to value human life.
    •    Talk about the wonderful community helpers available to help.  There are emergency workers, doctors, nurses, firemen, and police officers all working together to help keep children safe.

Another good article on this topic can be found at:

Talking with Children