Helping children process scary world events


Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2) – Sometimes major events around the country can be scary for children, and seeing it 24/7 on news and social media can be tough for them. In this week’s segment of “Centers Solutions: COVID Edition,” Kristi Edwards and Melanie Saiz explain how to help your kids navigate tough topics that seem to be talked about everywhere they turn.

“We’d love to shelter our kids from all of this information but as we know it’s impossible with the internet. We’ll take their sources away, and they’ll still have access at school or through friends. So it’s important to help our kids set some technology boundaries, at least when they’re at home, break times, whatever’s age appropriate. Just like adults, children can become riddled with negative emotions, anxiety, overwhelmed,” says Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.

Saiz says it’s important to lead by example, because if you are scrolling through social media and news, or getting upset by what you see on those apps or sites, your kids are probably watching and learning from you. Centers officials also say that in this age of 24/7 access to information, children should be told what’s correct and what’s not.

“Ask kids of all ages, ‘What do you know?’ You don’t want to feed them all the facts, because you may give them something that would really, maybe traumatize them. So ask them, ‘What do you know? What have you heard?’ You want to be able to dispel anything they’ve heard that is not true, And you want to be able to understand from what they do know, to either confirm that or offer an alternate explanation,” says Centers Executive Director Kristi Edwards.

They say to let your kids know it’s okay to talk about scary subjects.You can also tell them about your own experiences with unnerving times in history that you remember as a child to let them know that it’s possible to overcome and move forward.

“Let them express their feelings and emotions and concerns and just listen. Sometimes we want to fix their feelings and it’s good just to sit and listen to how they feel, encourage questions, openness helps them feel secure and safe,” says Saiz.

If you feel like your children are getting too worried,sad,or angry, you can prepare a “distraction plan” with them. Talk a walk together, play a card game, call a friend, or grab a snack. Both Edwards and Saiz say don’t forget to take care of yourself, because a healthy parent encourages healthy kids. If you’re struggling with ways to talk to your kids, or if you think your child is having a serious struggle, reach out to Centers. To learn more about this topic, you can also listen to the Centers podcast.

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