The world is a scary place sometimes. With access to
non-stop news everywhere we turn it seems like there are constant references to
school shootings, attacks in public places and armed intruders. Many adults
find these stories upsetting and children are often drawn into seeing and
hearing about these same disturbing events.
How can we protect our elementary school age (and younger)
children from becoming overwhelmed with fear and anxiety? Following are a few
tips to help your family:
Keep some perspective yourself. Bad things have
always happened in the world, but we didn’t have the kind of almost immediate
information sharing that modern media brings.Talk honestly with your child but at their
level of understanding. Don’t give more detail than they are ready to handle.
Keep it simple. (“Sometimes bad people do hurt others. I work very hard to
always keep you safe.”)Turn off the constant media flow. It’s
important to limit how much negative information your child hears. Be aware of your own conversations with others.
Children tune into more than many adults realize. Watch for signs that your child is experiencing
anxiety. Changes in sleep, eating habits, or difficulties at school are three
common indicators. Be the good in the world. Look for ways to take
action in a positive way to counter the negative. When appropriate, include
your child in taking some action. Feeling helpless about something contributes
to anxiety over the issue. Remember that you are the rock in your child’s
world. If you find yourself slipping into fear and anxiety yourself, get help.
Your children will look to you for cues on how to react to events.Share positives. Watch for stories that focus
on kindness, giving, warmth, and sharing friendship.
The world can be scary but it’s also a big wonderful place
full of kind-hearted people. Help your child learn to […]