How to Help Your Child Cope with Tragic News Events
We all want to protect our children from the harsh realities of the world. From the loss of loved ones to the constant barrage of tragic events that pervade the news and media, it is almost impossible to shield them entirely from frightening events.
As your child grows, they will become more aware of what is happening in their immediate surroundings and, eventually, the world at large. How they process this and come to terms with the world around them is simply a part of growing up.
As a parent it is your job to guide them through this process and feel so they feel as safe in this world as possible. Here are some ways you can help your child when they are exposed to scary events.
Listen and Look
The demands of day-to-day life can be overwhelming at times and it’s not always easy to pick up on your child’s more nuanced emotions. When you’re getting ready for work and rushing your kids off to school it is only natural that sometimes you may miss some of the often subtle signs that something is amiss.
If you do think something is troubling your child take some time out to evaluate the situation. Find a peaceful moment to listen to what they have to say and look for what might be causing any negative emotions. And, of course, never scold them for unusual behaviour. Kindness and support will always win the day.
Be a Role Model
Children are extremely intuitive. If the events happening around you are making you feel scared, anxious or angry it is highly likely they will pick up on this and begin to feel similar emotions themselves. Very often the key to understanding your child’s emotions is to understand your own. If you can master negative feelings it will create a more soothing environment for your child.
Try to See the World as They Do
If a child is exposed to horrific and tragic events on television and other media, it is only natural that they will be afraid that the same thing might happen to you. Try to understand the fear that they may be feeling, how they are processing it, and react accordingly. It is also important to keep the age of your child in mind. A five-year-old will have very different fears and very different needs than a 15-year-old.
Gently Limit Exposure to Negative Influences
While you can’t control everything that happens in the world around you, it is possible to limit your child’s exposure to negative and scary influences. This isn’t to say you should be overprotective, which can have its own negative consequences. Back up your love and support with healthy habits that encourage your child to enjoy the better things in life.
Here are some things you can try to help protect your child from the negative emotional effects of the incessant bad news cycle:
Find Some Distractions – When it comes down to it, your child doesn’t really want to hear about bombings, disasters and civil unrest. Invariably, they would much prefer to be out playing with friends, kicking a ball around with mum and dad, or playing some video games. Finding healthier activities that steer them away from the tragedies of the world shouldn’t be too difficult.
Try to Be Around When They Are Exposed to Tragic Events – This is difficult in an age of always-connected mobile devices, but try to be aware of what your child is listening to and looking at. If you do see them being exposed to a tragic news event and think it may be upsetting them, try to talk it through with them at a level they will understand and give them plenty of reassurance.
Look on The Bright Side of Life – It’s a fact of life that bad things happen. At some point your child will realise this and, ultimately, will have to come to terms with this themselves. Help them with this by regularly reminding them of the positive things in life, especially if you think they might be feeling down. Remind them of that amazing holiday last year, the love of their family and friends, or the exciting plans for the weekend ahead. There are so many better things in life to think about.
At Little Peoples Place, we are dedicated to giving your child the best start to life in a healthy and happy environment. With 10 conveniently located child care centres in Perth, we can provide the love and support your child needs during those crucial formative years. Contact us today to find out more about our award-winning child care services.