Helping Kids Cope in a Time of Crisis and Fear


Page 1 of 2

Advice for Parents


by Katy Abel

Provided by familyeducation.com

In times of national agony, as we sense our security vanishing in the flames and smoke of unforeseen terrorism and tragedy, many of us wonder what – and how much – to say to children.

The very sudden and shocking nature of September 11 attack on America makes it all the more essential for Moms and Dads and teachers to find the right words, and the right way to communicate a message of safety and family security. Here is Family Education Network family therapist Carleton Kendrick’s ages-and-stages advice for how to express thoughts and feelings – and listen to kids talk – about what’s happened.

Preschoolers: Limit Media Exposure

During the Persian Gulf War and following the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building, many preschool teachers observed young children reenacting scenes from television news broadcasts in their classroom play. But while children may mimic scenes of tragedy, they lack the cognitive ability to fully comprehend what they see. Scenes of carnage may seem cartoon-like to some, truly terrifying to others.

“Preschoolers are basically going to be mirroring what they hear and see around them,” observes Kendrick. “My strong suggestion is to keep preschoolers away from television images of what’s happened in New York and Washington.”

Kendrick advises parents to share their own feelings with preschoolers on a “need-to-know” basis. No four-year-old can understand a terrorist plot, but she may think it’s her fault if Mom is upset and it’s unclear why. A simple explanation (“I’m sad because some people were hurt in an accident today”) may be all that’s needed. Other suggestions: Maintain the family schedule as much as possible. This is a time when a sit-down dinner and a bedtime story can signal young children that while big buildings are falling down, the family structure remains intact.

Grades K to 3: Am I Safe?

Most young elementary school students will get information about what’s happened from their peers, if no one else.

“Just as you don’t want them to have knowledge of sex from the playground, so too you don’t want them to rely on their friends for information about these attacks,” cautions Kendrick. “You the parent have to filter the horror and the tragedy and somehow make it understandable and not paralyzing.” Since children this age are going to wonder first and foremost about their own physical safety, Kendrick suggests accenting the positive.

“I’d say, ‘We’re going to be a lot safer now,’” Kendrick advises. “Tell kids that we’ve learned from this that we have to have better plans to protect buildings and planes. This is important reassurance because children may have fears about their parents flying off on a business trip, or the family’s upcoming visit to Grandma’s for the holidays.”



 Previous   1   2   Next 


If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus

Highlights

Win a HueHD Prize Pack!
We’re sending you Back to School with HueHD! Join the Maker Movement with Hue’s Animation Studio, HD Pro Document Camera, and Tablet Stand. Every week in September, one lucky teacher will win the ultimate classroom and STEAM bundle. Encourage students to create, innovate, tinker, and explore! Enter Now!

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here. Help your students understand the process of our national elections, from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

September Calendar of Events
September is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: U.S. Constitution Week (9/17-23), International Day of Peace (9/21), Autumn Begins (9/22), and Banned Books Week (9/25-10/1). Plus, celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Classical Music Month, Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15), Hunger Action Month, Hunger Action Month, Library Card Sign-Up Month, National Sickle Cell Month all September long!