Damage Control: How To Explain News Coverage To Your Children

The United States suffered 204 mass shootings in the first 204 days of 2015, according to disturbing statistics reported by the Huffington Post. Parents can add the murder of two journalists on live television in southwestern Virginia to the list of news stories that adults must explain to children in a way that doesn’t alarm them or make them afraid for their safety. Parents must walk a delicate line between helping kids comprehend newsmaking events and common sense approaches to the safety of youngsters.

Explore Your Feelings

Explore the feelings you may feel after hearing of such events on television. Naturally, you might feel terror about the prospects of such a terrible tragedy occurring to someone you know. Hearing of mass killings bring up fears for the safety of you and your loved ones.

After you get over the shock and horror of the events, your heart may feel sad for the victims and for the families of those killed. Gauge your own emotions and deal with them away from your kids until you have time to sort them out, a report published by the South Orangetown Central School District suggested. Talk to another adult before you talk to your children. Breathe deeply to try to relax, use tapping points along your hands or neck to relieve stress through acupressure points, or shake out tension through your hands. Kids can pick up on your emotions and become upset simply because you are worried, angry, or sad yourself.

Reassure Kids

The first thing you should do is reassure your children that they are in no danger. These acts of violence, although big news on television, do not happen to everyone. The United States has more than 300 million people! Although the murders are horrifying, your kids are generally safe from such acts. Tell your youngsters that their teachers can protect them at school when they are not near mommy or daddy, suggested Diane Levin in an article on KidsGrowth.

Let your children know that they can come to you, as a parent, with any issues they may have with something they hear at school or see on the news. Hug it out, tell your youngsters a happy bedtime story, and show them that they mean the world to you and you’ll do everything to protect them.

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