Protecting Children from Over-Exposure to Media Events including reporting of Natural Disasters

The storms over the previous weekend remind us of how unpredictable the weather and other tragic events come to bear in our lives.  Children, especially, are emotionally vulnerable to the reports and photographs of  stories in the media depicting the damage to people’s homes and the loss of lives.  Depending on a child’s age, they may be curious about what they are seeing on television or overhearing in adult conversations, and they may ask questions about what happened, how it happened, or even why it happened. They may also become fearful that it will happen to them, and they may feel empathically towards those effected by the disaster.   It is important to answer your child’s questions in ways that they can understand without providing too much overwhelming information.  Again, depending on your child’s age and developmental maturity, it may be appropriate to talk to them about the atmosphere and the fact that weather is occurring all the time.  You can reassure them about the sunshine and rain that predominate our weather, and talk about how the weather is changing now that winter is drawing near.  If you feel comfortable talking about it, let them know that there are professionals who try to help us know what the weather is going to be.   Reassure them that you are always making sure that the adults in their lives will look after them whether at home, school, or other places.  Affirm that it is the job of adults to look out for their safety.
If you have questions about how to talk with your child or if you want further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Post by Sarah Wilhelms