We are living in unprecedented times. Parents and teachers may want to shelter children from negative events going on in the world while others are eager to explain current events to children in ways that are age-appropriate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents, teachers and others who care for children to filter and present information to kids appropriately, so they can understand and cope with it. They recommend that you start by asking your child what they know or have heard about an event, followed by answering any questions they have while avoiding graphic details and limiting media exposure.
PBS has published a resource to help teach about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that occurred on Jan. 6. While the materials were created with educators in mind, parents can certainly use them to help their own children understand and deal with the news.
It tweeted out a link to its guidance following the incident:
Classroom resource: 3 ways to teach the insurrection at the Capitol | PBS @NewsHour EXTRA
— PBS NewsHour Classroom (@NewsHourExtra) January 7, 2021
PBS recommends starting with this video, posted online by PBS Newshour. PBS also provides a transcript, Pear Deck slides and a summary of the video.
To follow up, the classroom resource includes three activities:
1. A class discussion, with five “warm-up” questions followed by three focus questions that give kids a chance to dig a little deeper.
2. A media literacy activity in which kids compare photos from the insurrection at the nation’s Capitol and a Black Lives Matter protest.
3. A writing activity, in which children read a summary and watch provided videos of President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden, then answer discussion questions.
Links to other resources are also provided.
Experts recommend paying attention to behavior changes and modeling positive ways to manage fear and anxiety for kids who were exposed to media coverage of the event.
Above all, take steps to help the kids in your life feel safe and heard. Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a double board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and freelance writer on faculty at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and co-founder of Brainstorm, Stanford’s Lab for Mental Health Innovation, shared advice on Twitter.
“Child psychiatry advice for today,” she wrote. “Limit kids’ exposure to the media, provide reassurance and make sure they know they’re safe, talk about wrong actions over labeling people as bad (latter is confusing for younger kids), give them the space to ask questions.”
Child psychiatry advice for today:
– Limit kids' exposure to the media
– Provide reassurance and make sure they know they're safe
– Talk about wrong actions over labeling people as bad (latter is confusing for younger kids)
– Give them the space to ask questions#psychtwitter
— Neha Chaudhary, MD (@NehaChaudharyMD) January 6, 2021
Will you use these resources to talk to your kids about current events?