Keeping abreast of news and current affairs is a habit that we encourage in our students as soon as they reach an appropriate age. It helps to develop critical thinking, an appreciation for other cultures and ensures a broad general knowledge base.
But of course, not all news is good news – recent bombings in Brussels and Paris, dog attacks and high profile plane crashes are all things that concern us as adults, so how do these events impact children?
Today news is everywhere, on our phones, computers, radios and TVs, as well as the traditional newspaper. With such a plethora of channels available, there is no question that children will be exposed to challenging news stories at some point so how do we equip them with the tools to sort fact from fiction, apply context and most importantly continue to feel secure?
Your Reactions Matter
Children will look to adults to gauge their response to a news story. Stay calm and rational and your daughter will too.
Identify the Good
Events that result in loss of life are traumatic but some good can be drawn from them when discussing these events with your daughter. Point out the number of emergency service vehicles that respond or talk about people coming to together to remember in a service or vigil.
The random and varied nature of newsworthy events can give children a sense of a loss of control. Empower your daughter to make a positive change in her own world; if terrorist events are bothering her, let her know that we all need to practise tolerance and understanding and that she can start doing this right now with her classmates.
Look at All Sides
The older your daughter gets, the more capacity she will have to see related news events, to weigh up cause and effect. Encourage her to dig deeper and look for reasons why – does a story point to a need for better mental health services or an opportunity to improve social housing?