Whenever images or videos of violent events around the world invade your home through the news, social media, and press, adult conversations start around the dinner table.
These events echoed in the family environment have the destructive power to confuse, worry, and scare them. One thing is sure; children will turn to their parents and caregivers and look for explanations and help to make sense of what they witnessed.
It is an opportunity for adults to help young children.
Establish a Sense of Safety
Young children depend on adults to feel secure and well. But, if adults are subject to anger, fear, and other strong emotions, how can they help children?
If you have anxiety, feel depressed, anxious, or angry, you will emotionally affect your child. Therefore, practice self-help first. Turn off the news, find inner peace and strength to move on.
Make time to discuss together and listen to children. Sometimes, conversations are triggered during activities or playtime. Hence, engage in activities like drawing, painting, or cooking with them.
Depending on your child’s age, help them share their feelings and reinforce the idea that it is good to share them. Young children may express fears and certainly ask, “why?” Therefore, take the time to observe, listen, and think about your answers.
Your answers should be simple, age-appropriate, and ultimately reassuring. It is essential to emphasize that your family is safe and that nothing will happen. It will help you reinstate a sense of normalcy because it is fundamental to young children’s wellness.
Some Young Children Do Not Speak
If children do not express themselves verbally, it does not mean that everything is OK. They may have a different way of expressing themselves.
Hence, you should observe any behavior change over time. Does your child cry at the childcare drop-off? Is there any change in appetite, sleeping patterns, or concerns with other children during playtime? Some new behavioral patterns, like intense reactions, can mean that something abnormal is going on.
It is crucial to assess the emotional impact that events may have on children and never believe that what they see and hear has no consequences because they are too young to understand. If you observe anything, contact your pediatrician and caregiver and team up to discover the root cause of the issue.
Limit The Flow of Continuous Information
Switch off. It is that simple.
If that’s too hard, try to do your best to limit TV viewing, tablet use, and compulsory phone swipes. In other words, reduce the source of ongoing depressing or violent information.
If the media can create depression, confusion, anger, and fears in adults, children can suffer from that same exposure. If they are exposed to inappropriate language or behaviors they observe, children will be confused or believe that it is customary to adopt the same behavioral patterns.
Therefore, make sure that the content they are exposed to is age-appropriate and mindful of your words and acts because they will replicate them.
What Are Your Takeaways?
How about creating spaces in your home without any technology? Or, take the time to engage in playtime and age-appropriate activities?
Ultimately, remember that some content may hurt or disturb young children. So, be attentive to what you view and remember that they hear what you say.
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Willowdale Children's Academy is a child care agency located in Chester County, PA, specialized in early learning with schools in Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, Avondale, and West Chester, PA. We offer programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, after school care, and summer camps.