The world seems to have had more than it’s fair share of disasters over the last couple of years, the floods in India, situation in Haiti, the earthquake in Christchurch and then overnight the massive earthquake in Japan. It seems to be a pretty scary time to live at the moment.
I am all too aware of how tragedy can affect children, we have experienced enough in our family and my boys have been exposed to illness and death from an early age, but this does not mean that I no longer feel the need to shield them from the hardest realities of the news.
I find the news footage shocking and I am keen to limit the boys exposure to the footage, but also to explain what is happening and how it is effecting people around the world. For me this means ensuring that we do not watch the news at 6pm and watching a program like news round which is made with children in mind.
Ellen did a post over at Ready for Ten last year, on helping your children understand the news and it has some great tips.
One of the things we have done this morning, is to look at where Japan is on the boys map and their globe and discussed what an earthquake is. I have also tried to reassure them that we only have tiny earthquakes in the UK.
The boys are going to be giving away something each week for charity as part of our Lent, so we are going to discuss ways we can help people over dinner tonight.
How do you help your children deal with events like these?
I have the same views as you I think that children should know something it is their world after all but I am prepared to protect Baba for as long as possible. He is only coming up to 2 and a half after all. I was actually watching the news on the laptop while he was watching tv and he looked over and commented on the big wave, I felt that I had to say something. I told him it had been a naughty wave and had upset lots of people not like the nice waves we see at the beach. He understood that and I think that is all he needs to understand at the moment. He too has already experienced death in his short life and it is a hard thing to know which line to take. But you can only explain to them what they understand. Great post xx
It is a sticky one. I have been guilty of over protecting mine over the years and we still don’t watch the news together very often. I am not keen on TV news as I feel it over sensationalises issues and I feel like a voyeur into people’s tragedy. We listen to the news on Radio 4 instead which makes them think and discuss, I also buy newspapers occasionally, have the internet on and available with the Guardian or BBc news site on and I get The Week which is great for them and me. Of course mine are now older, for BB at the moment the world is a wonderful place which he is learning to deal with one step at a time with gradual and gentle drip drops of information and explanation. Fab post Jen, thank you!
I think what you’ve done with your boys is brilliant. Belle is only 8 months so she hasn’t a clue what’s going on but it is something I think about as she gets older. For Christmas we decided to buy her one less present and buy an Oxfam ‘meal for a family’ instead. I’m going to try and get her to give up the value of one present every year to help someone else.
I used to try and keep my boys in a bubble protected from all the bad news out there, but it became apparent after 9/11 that I couldn’t do that.
Your Comments Hi Jen, Tori watches SKY news every morning before school, and she is a well balanced child who just wants to know. As long as everything is explained properly there isn’t a problem. Tori relates everything to how close it is to us, to America or her sister Gem in NZ, so the globe atlas comes out most mornings. Beware those who wrap their kids up on cotton wool, cos reality comes along and bits kids on the bum when we’re not watching, so in my humble opinion, the more they know/understand the better. Good post Jen xx
We generally don’t watch the main news as Chick is quite sensitive and gets upset about stuff. She does watch Newsround though and I think that as long as I’m watching it with her and discussing what’s going on in the world then she is ok. I try to protect her from the worst of it but now she’s getting older I do believe that she needs an awareness of the wider world for good and bad xx
Because mine are 11 and 13 I feel they’re able to cope with the slightly later news and I think it’s important that kids are aware of events going on in the world, even from quite a young age. The only things I did shield them from were child abductions and murders because I felt that would definitely cause them unnecessary angst..
I think, to be honest I need to take a lead from you and chat more with them. I am always open with the kids but I never have the news on and do not have papers so they are a bit sheltered from what happens mostly. Except Hiati we had lots of chats about that because of our sponsored child living there.
Thanks for making me think about this. Mich x
Thougthtful post jan. I like to explain things myself so thereis room for questions and further explanations. frankie knows swhat s going in the world but we then move o to play. For lent hes giving up money!!! his pocket money so he says for people who need it more. hes a fine fella aware but not overwhelmed