Helping kids make sense of the news

Resources for supporting children during frightening and uncertain events

By: Elizabeth Byrum | January 2021

Post Author

Today as we celebrate Inauguration Day, we’re mindful of how the last few months of intense current events – both positive and negative – have affected our children. With many of their support systems missing, and relentless news stories about political strife, racial violence, school closings, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, children of all ages may be feeling sad, confused, angry, or scared. Children and youth are struggling to make sense of all the fear and uncertainty. It can be hard for parents and caregivers to know exactly what to say, especially when many are struggling to process the distressing events for themselves.

There is no right way to address these tough topics, but it’s important to include kids in the conversation. Don’t avoid talking about it. Children of all ages are highly perceptive. Even if they’re not old enough to read the news themselves, they are listening to adult conversations and taking emotional cues from our reactions. Now more than ever, they need reassurance from the trusted adults in their lives.

Resources for Talking to Kids about Challenging Issues

Child development experts have provided a wealth of resources for talking to children about violence, racism, political and social upheaval and processing big emotions. We’ve included a list of some of our favorite resources below:

Resources for School-Age Children
Resources for Young Children

It’s okay to let children know that adults are struggling to process the situation too. Taking the time to validate kids’ feelings, stating the facts of the situation, sharing your own emotional reactions, and responding to their questions will help children feel more supported, even when things are uncertain. Important issues like racism, violence, and inequity won’t be solved in a single conversation. Keep the door open for ongoing conversations and questions. Reassure kids that they can come to you whenever they need to talk.

We will continue to share resources and opportunities to speak up against violence and racism, on behalf of our children. These are crucial conversations – especially in times of crisis.