MEMPHIS, Tenn. — From the deadly U.S. Capitol riots to ongoing gun violence in Memphis, there are a lot of tough headlines this year.
Just like adults, kids are consuming just as much news and sometimes the stories can be difficult for them to understand.
Dr. Tanjala Gipson, a neurology specialist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, said parents don’t have to wait for their children to ask questions about the news. She suggests starting the conversation to see how much your kids know already about the news or a specific story.
“You can start with open-ended questions, what’s been on your mind lately? How are you feeling are you worried about anything? Are you concerned about anything?,” explained Dr. Gipson. “If they don’t say much then the next step would be being more specific. Have you heard about, have you seen these things, and what do you think about that?”
Dr. Gipson said listen to your kids, and get their feedback. Then she suggests using these stories as a teaching moment, especially when the headlines hit close to home.
“Making sure that you give them the space to fully express the range of emotions they might have and validate those emotions and be honest about whatever their questions are,” said Gipson. “Some kids might say, well mom, dad is that going to happen to me, could we be next, could that happen to us? And take the time hey we’re keeping you safe, this is what we’re doing.”
And just like adults, some stories can make kids feel helpless.
Dr. Gipson suggests helping your kids with activities that allow them to a make difference.
“You can’t control that that happened, but you know what maybe the hospital is doing a donation or drive for that family or maybe we can make card together and say we were sorry this happened, and we just want you to know that you have some love from our family,” said Dr. Gipson.”
When you can, Dr. Gipson suggests watch the news with kids, so you can talk about it with them in real-time.
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