Talking to kids about the news -

How to talk to your kids about news

Most of us are used to hearing stories of horrifying events in the media. But how does it affect children? Our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, has some tips on how to make sure your kids feel safe.

"We live in the age of the 24-hour news cycle," says Coach Marcia. "Terror attacks, mass murders, sexual assaults, financial meltdowns, killer storms. The events that make news so scary for adults can be traumatizing for children."

This constant barrage of news stories can have serious psychological effects on children.

"As a former television journalist and news anchor, I tell parents it's up to them to monitor what their kids watch and to be prepared to explain that news is about the exceptions in life, not about what normally happens," Coach Marcia advises.

Because kids have no way of evaluating the information and images they see on TV, it's important to take charge and initiate a discussion about disturbing news stories -- especially if it's something that could happen to them.

For example, a school shooting. Let them know that sometimes bad things like that happen, but that those occasions are rare and that's why they're seeing it on the news. Reassurance is the most important thing you can do for your child if a news event makes them anxious.

Another good way to deal with kids when horrible news breaks is to distract them. Keep the TV off for awhile and play games or go outdoors. When something terrible happens, it's best for children not to be bombarded with reports of every little detail.

"Your job as a parent is to make sure your children feel safe," Coach Marcia notes. "You can't stop bad things from happening in the world, but you can make sure your kids know they live in a safe environment with parents who will protect them at all times. And sometimes that means shielding them from the bad news of the day."

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved

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