how to talk to kids about terorrismAs rolling news continues to update on today’s events, you’ve probably started to wonder about how to talk to your kids about terrorism. It is a difficult subject but one that can’t be ignored. If your child feels fobbed off with a vague answer they’re likely to find out more on social media or in the school yard.

  1. First start by switching off the news channel. Continuous rolling news can raise anxiety levels in adults, never mind children. Even with a slight delay in broadcasting, live news is volatile. Control your home environment to lessen the chance of their exposure to disturbing images.

  2. If the news is on, talk to your child about what they’re seeing. As with everything, your chat needs to be age appropriate. If suitable you can count together how many “helpers” you can see on the screen. This will put into perspective the number of people who do good in the world compared to those who do bad things.

  3. Let them lead the conversation.This way you can establish how much the understand about the situation. For older kids, ask them open questions such as “what do your friends at school think of it?” If the say nothing, just move on. No need to press the subject.

  4. Try not to use terms like “bad man” or “naughty person”. People can choose to do good, bad or naughty things. They’re not inherently evil.

  5. If they say they’re scared or it was scary, don’t diminish their feelings by saying there’s nothing to worry about or its fine. Reality is that there are scary situations in life but its how we cope and respond to them.

  6. If your kids start playing out the event with their toys, encourage them to keep going until everyone is safe. You can ask, “what happens next?” or if it is role play, ask “who is going to be the ambulance driver?”

  7. Older children might feel they want to do something to help. You could suggest a clear out of their belongings for a refugee charity, explaining that it would help families who are trying to escape terrorist attacks. This will leave them feeling empowered.

  8. If appropriate for your family, you could initiate a prayer for the victims and families.

  9. Having kids draw pictures is a method used by child psychologists to encourage them to express what’s really going on in their minds. This will give you more of an insight into their concerns.

  10. Similarly writing a letter, perhaps a thank you note to the police for helping everyone might be enough for your child to accept and understand what has happened but also bring it to a close for that day.