How do you know how much of information they can handle?
By: Dr. Lisa Di Enno, MD, FAAP
It is inevitable. When stressful events occur and they flood our lives, we must know that – in one way or another – our kids know about it, too. As adults, it is our job to talk to them. But, how? Where do you start? How do you know how much of something they can handle?
Important note: Always make sure you are in a good frame of mind before you approach the topic to ensure that you are sending the right message.
For kids up to 7 years of age:
Turn the news off the Television. Keep yourself informed, but limit your child’s exposure (and your own!). You will find that spending time engaging with your child is the best way to show love, support, comfort, care, and security.
For kids 8 – 12 years of age:
Ask your child what they know about the situation so that you may see things from their perspective while you engage with them. Show them that their opinion is valued. Consider watching a bit of news with your kids. Talk about it. Ask them what they think – and explain what they don’t understand.
For kids 13 and over:
Teenagers naturally have strong emotions. So, they will have strong opinions to share about the situation, too. Talk with them about their viewpoints and feelings, but don’t debate them. Teaching them about trustworthy news sources will help them gather all the facts.
Stressful events can physically affect us – and it can do the same for our kids. Be sure to keep an eye open to signs that your child may be stressed. These may include sleep disturbances, headaches, stomach aches, nightmares, etc. Expect that this may happen, but know it won’t last forever. Until it passes, treat your child with non-judgmental support and love.
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Dr. Lisa Di Enno is the Chief Medical Officer at XpertCare Pediatric Digital Clinic. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.