The recent siege in Sydney is upsetting for adults, so we must be even more mindful of what our children are being exposed to directly or even indirectly through the media and also their peers.
Here are my tips when there’s distressing world events reported in the news:
1. Even though it’s difficult to do, try to avoid exposing your child to the news about the Sydney siege, especially if they’re under 5 years of age. This might mean avoiding the TV news or reading the newspaper around your children for the next couple of days. If you want to keep up to date yourself, use passive forms of media (social media away from kids, or reading newspapers when they’re not present).
2. Be mindful about discussing the events in front of your children. They’re observing and listening, even if they don’t appear to be interested. They may not ask you questions, but often they’re internalising and taking in the information.
3. For children who HAVE heard about the event, talk to them, reassure them that they’re safe and answer any of their concerns. It’s also an opportunity to answer any of their misconceptions. Make sure you assure your child that they can ask you questions, so that they’re not hearing information second-hand or hearing misconceptions.
4. Remember, depending on the age of your child they will not have the same hindsight and rational thinking skills adults have. This means that if they’re hearing the same message repeatedly, via the media, that they may think that it is a catastrophic experience happening everywhere and that they will somehow be involved. They may not be able to localise the experience. They may also not articulate this fear to you, but it is something that they may instead internalise.
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