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Talking to Kids About the Tragic Events

Submitted by on April 18, 2013 – 4:10 pmNo Comment

Talking to Kids About the Boston Martathon Tragedy

Child Psychologist Offers Tips on How to Talk to Kids About Tragic Events

Making sense of the tragic events such as the Boston Marathon bombings and the West Texas Fertilizer Plant explosion can be quite a challenge for children and parents alike.  Children are going to be asking difficult questions and parents need suggestions to help discuss the issue and address their concerns.

Below are some helpful tips from Child Psychologist Dr. Phyllis Ohr, the Director of the Child and Parent Psychological Services Clinic at Hofstra and the Assistant Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.  Dr. Phyllis is also the official psychologist forPress4Kids’s News-O-Matic, the first educational news app for children 7 to 10 years old.

Please find below some fantastic tips for how parents can address news issues with children:

  1. When the event does not personally affect the child, reassure them that everything is okay with the people they love and that nothing has changed for them
  2. Begin by giving the child a brief synopsis of what happened by using age appropriate language
  3. Ask if there is something they want to know more about or if they need something explained further
  4. If so, stick to pointedly answering their question or clarifying. Do not add on or digress
  5. Do not assume the news will make children feel a certain way. Ask if they know how they feel but stress that kids feel all different ways when they hear important news and sometimes do not know how they feel or do not feel anything which is okay
  6. However children are affected by it, it is their own feeling
  7. If they are upset but don’t want to talk suggest a fun activity for distraction or help them use calming skills like bubble breathing

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