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Answering our kid’s questions about violence in the world



How to answer current concerns in an age-appropriate way

kids, violence, questions, answers, support

The recent news has been difficult to watch. Violence is erupting throughout the country and beyond. How do we protect our children? Or, should we?

According to a report from Sesame Street Communities, a collaboration of health and childcare associations, there are actions that parents can take to help their young children get some age-appropriate understanding of what’s going on in the world today. 

When troubling events occur pay close attention to what your young children are saying and listen to exactly what they’re asking. Avoid exposing them to media or conversations related to what happened, particularly if they don’t know what happened.

Children’s questions are key to know how best to engage in conversation and how much information to share. When talking to other moms, share your concerns and ask them what they are saying to their kids. 

Lastly, young children tend to confuse facts with fears, so don’t give them more details than they ask for. Avoid sharing details such as the exact number of people who died and try not to be too dramatic. If you’re very upset and they notice, reassure them that you’re sad about the news too, but that you’ll be fine, and you’ll still be there to take care of them and keep them safe. 

Here are some typical questions and some possible answers: 

Child’s question: What happened?

Possible Answer: A sad thing happened in ____ . A person hurt other people. The police found the person so they could not keep hurting others. A lot of people are very upset, but a lot of helpers are there with them. 

Child’s Question: Why did these people do this bad thing?

Possible Answer: That’s a good question. There is no good reason to harm other people. We don’t completely understand why. These people have not learned to be kind to others.  

Child’s Question: Will the bad people come hurt us?

Possible Answer: I know how to keep you and our family safe, and everyone around us is working hard to make sure we stay safe. (If the event happened far away, use the distance to reassure. Depending on kids’ ages, you might show the location on a globe or map.) 

Child’s Question: Will this happen again? 

Possible Answer: (And it’s okay to say… ) I’m not sure of the answer to that question. Let me think about it. I wish there was a good answer to that question, but we just don’t know. I’m sad/angry, too. We all feel sad that this has happened.


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