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Thursday, January 27, 2022

How to talk to your children about news and current events


News can be overwhelming to explain to your kids, especially with recent events taking over social media. So how can you protect them while also keeping them informed?

It is inevitable for children to hear about the current events taking place in the world either through parents communicating with one another, from their friends, or through social media. Recently, the news has been extra difficult, especially with the unfair oppression and tragedies that have continued to take place around the world.

For a child, news can be challenging to grasp without getting too concerned, but it is important to recognise that rather than attempting to shield them from it, there are ways to communicate with children about what is happening in the world. 

Taking your child’s age into consideration is important because the older the child is, the more they are able to understand the difference between reality and fantasy.

This also helps you choose the words you want to use, in order for them to consist of the language they can comprehend. Having a conversation is a helpful way to learn more about what your child knows, and to explain to them what you feel is beneficial for them to understand.

Why I talk to my children about Palestine and politics

Giving them a simple explanation with some context, such as the location on the globe (for example: using a pointer, you can show your child Palestine) can help them recognise where the current situation is taking place.

This allows them to make connections and to want to ask more questions that might be related to culture, food, and the geography of the place. While it is likely that current events can be related to tragedy, it is not always beneficial for them to see the news as it can overexpose them to words, images, and circumstances they are not ready for.

Read also: How social media beat Israel’s propaganda machine

Watching the news with your child, setting limits as to what they are allowed to watch, and limiting how much difficult news they are aware of can help them pace how much they learn and absorb about the world around them. Since children focus on images, it’s important to be selective about what they do see since it can lead to fears and worries. 

While the news can be stressful for adults, it can also be added stress for children. This is why it’s helpful for parents to be a source of comfort for children when they want to address what they heard or saw on the news. By doing so, being calm and collected as a parent allows the child to explore what is on their mind and ask questions that open up dialogue.

Being aware of the possibility and even onset of stress is also important. While curiosity is a positive, constant worry, anxiety, no desire to eat or inability to sleep as a result of the news can require seeing a mental health professional. 

Nurturing conversations that inspire children to want to learn more about their surroundings is helpful for inspiring children to become interested in wanting to improve the world and taking care of those in need. Learning about the news can motivate children to want to help by donating, increasing awareness, and passionately advocating for what is right.

Read also: How to be an ally: a guide by a Palestinian student in Qatar

Through listening to some of the news together, addressing any fears, explaining anything that might not be fully understood, taking the time to read the newspaper, encouraging the ability to express what your child has learned through play, and simply being present to answer any questions, there are so many ways to help your child properly navigate their understanding of the news.

There will always be your child’s desire to want to know more. With so much taking place in the world, taking the step to understanding current events is an opportunity for your child to learn, understand, and feel inspired to always want to grow.

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