Events such as these can cause children to worry if an event such as that could actually happen to them.
Talking with your children about what they may see or hear on the news can be difficult, but there are ways to start the conversations.
It is important to find out what your child does know about what is going on in the news and listen to what your child is telling you. Some children will bring significant events they have seen or things they may have heard into pretend play and even art. You should be aware of these behaviors to find opportunity to discuss your child's thoughts and feelings.
There are also some children who may not want to talk about the tragic events or violence seen or heard in the news. Look to start conversations very casually by mentioning there has been some news about (an event) and ask if anyone at school is talking about it. If your child responds saying they already talked about it at school, you can respond by asking what the kids at school said. It is good to ask open-ended questions that encourage your child to talk to you more.
Because the media is a part of our everyday life, it is important to remember to talk about such events in age-appropriate ways so that your child still feels safe as well as the people your child cares. Monitoring your child's TV news time can help with managing exactly what content your child sees and hears. Remember, you are the parent and the television program should not be viewed if it's inappropriate for young ages.
There have been multiple tragedies that have happened over the past year, and my heart goes out to people in all those communities. You can visit pbs.org/parents or kidshealth.org to read about more ways to talk with your child about violence and other tragic events that are news.
On Sunday, May 19, I'll be with Lisa Kelly and Maryann Morris at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester from 3 to 4 p.m. for "Reducing Your Child's Screen Time: When Childhood Development Goes Right!"
Lisa is the founder of Unplugged, an organization that gets girls unplugged and outside, and Maryanne is the executive director of The Collaborative, an organization which supports keeping youth substance-free. We'll be at the Bookstore to talk more about how you can successfully limit your children's screen time and alternative things you can do together as a family. The event is free. Find out more or register at svhealthcare.org/ events.
Dr. Lynn Mann is a physician with SVMC Pediatrics in Bennington and Manchester. To make an appointment with Dr. Mann call (802) 362.4440. "Health Matters" is a weekly column from Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) meant to educate readers about their personal health, public health matters, and public policy as it affects health care. To learn more about SVHC, visit svhealthcare.org or their Facebook page.