Unless you’ve been isolated from technology for the past five years, you’re probably pretty aware of the difficult current events that have been wreaking havoc on communities and society as a whole. From COVID-19 to mass shootings to hate crimes, the world seems to be a pretty dismal place at the moment.
Chances are your kids have caught onto this as well, but they might not be as capable of handling some of the harsh realities and tough feelings that surround current events (even for adults, it’s still pretty tough). So what should your kids know about all that’s happening in the world? Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to talk to your child about current events.
Listen to and Answer Questions
Often, our first response to uncomfortable topics is to avoid them, but when it comes to learning how to talk to your child about current events, addressing their questions is a must. After all—your kiddo’s curiosity won’t just go away. If they don’t get an answer from you, they might turn to a less reputable source.
When your little ones have a question about a current event, be sure to listen to the full question before you jump in and answer. Listening to the entirety of the question will help you gauge how much detail to go into when you answer. And remember: You don’t have to know the answer to everything! If you aren’t sure what to say, let your child know that they’ve got a great question, and even though you don’t know the answer, you would love to help them find it.
Know the Context
Before you get over-zealous about answering all the questions your kiddos ask, make sure you know the context of their question. Are they asking you to just explain a word that they heard in school, or are they trying to understand a situation they’ve experienced? Knowing why your child is asking a question will help you recognize how in-depth your answer needs to be.
Explain on Their Level
Just as a teacher starts with the basics of addition and subtraction when teaching math, a parent should start with the basics when it comes to teaching their kiddos about current events.
Many current issues are too heavy and complicated for young minds to grasp, however, you can explain the basic principles behind current issues, so your child can begin to understand on their level. For instance, if your younger child has questions about race, consider using picture books that talk about diversity and inclusivity.
Don’t Overshare or Overwhelm
Current events can be difficult for adults to handle, let alone children. If you’re wondering how to talk to your child about current events, one of the most important things to do is avoid oversharing. A child might become frightened, overwhelmed, or depressed if they are exposed to more difficult information than they are prepared to process.
Remember: kids haven’t quite mastered the art of emotion regulation (in fact, many adults haven’t either!), so ingesting too much heavy information might do more harm than good. As you teach your child, check in with them to see how they’re feeling, if they have any questions, and if they understand what you’re teaching them about.
Tough Conversations Are Good
Learning how to talk to your child about current events can be daunting, but having the smaller conversations now will only help build the foundation for tougher conversations in the future. As you do your best to educate your little ones on what’s going on in the world, you’re preparing them to become responsible and valuable citizens in their adult lives.
Though these conversations are important, teaching about current events doesn’t have to be boring! Playing games, reading books, and using object lessons can take the edge off of difficult conversations and help your family understand the concept more fully. So start talking about tricky topics with your kiddos, and remember: it doesn’t have to be scary!
Preparing your kids to be responsible citizens is just as important as teaching them to be responsible tech users. At Troomi, we seek to support the growth and success of future generations by helping them develop lifelong healthy tech habits. See if Troomi is a good fit for your family!