Talking With Kids After Scary Events

Young children may not understand the news of the tragedy in Boston, but they can sometimes pick up on the fear and sadness of those around them. They may hear others talking and be concerned but are not able to ask us what is happening. We all want to protect our little ones and keep them from knowing about these events but we need to watch our children and be aware of their needs. Children may ask questions and it helps if we can talk with them.
Children can imagine some very frightening situations so talking about a situation can be important. Kids do not need to know all the details; you may want to say something simple like: 2 bombs exploded and some people were very badly hurt, but kids do require reassurance. We cannot tell children that something like that will never happen to them; we can remind them that we love them and will do our best to take care of them. Instead of keeping scared, sad feelings bottled up inside, it’s much better to talk about them.

Mr. Rogers shared some wise words from his mother, “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.” And lots of people did come to help. Police came, firefighters, doctors and nurses, and even some people came from their houses to help, because others needed a place to stay. Children have big hearts and may want to help too. We can acknowledge this in different ways. Is there a family in the neighborhood that could use some cookies? Could they help someone close by walk their dog? There may be something else that your family can do in your own area and this will also help children deal with the situation and their feelings as we all pray and hope together.

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