We are living in an interesting time right now, and when things happen suddenly, sometimes we forget or are unaware of how it affects our kids.

mom and son talking

How to Talk With Your Kids About Recent World News

When Y2K happened, I was 12 yo.

I remember my parents doing a little prepping, just being precocious in the event what was predicted would actually happen.

I also remember feeling very scared. Not because of anything my parents were doing wrong, but because of the media, and the talk that was going around in my social circles.

The older kids are, the more aware they become. But it’s common that they might not let on how they are processing it.

It’s something new, and the unknown can be terrifying for kids if they’re not well informed. Thankfully, in our westernized culture, we haven’t had to worry about war, famine, or a global pandemic, so talks like this aren’t common, and parents are unaware as to how to discuss it with their kids.

We are living in one of the most peaceful times in history. So the ground getting a bit shaken, can cause a lot of anxiety in children, and not to mention, us as adults.

As your kids are watching you with open eyes, be the influence and example that your kids need right now.

They don’t need an adult in their life who’s freaking out. They need a steady and reliable model of healthy, possibly now more than ever.

I picked up my 9yo son from school yesterday and told him gently that his school may be closed for a little bit. After I told him, he immediately burst out crying.

I asked him what was bothering him, and he said, “I’m not going to see my friends ever again.” I didn’t realize it, but he had most likely been listening to my husband and my’s conversations about the recent world events, but we had neglected to talk with him in-depth about it, leaving him to come to inaccurate conclusions.

Realizing that he had no idea what to think or how to process this news, I continued to discuss with him what was going on, and why it’s a good thing that school was taking a break.

We went in-depth as appropriate to his age, and after that, he was able to calm down and accept things.

After I told him that the pandemic doesn’t affect children hardly at all, you could see a huge sign of relief sweep across his face.

At that moment, I felt that I had possibly let him down by waiting too long to inform him of everything, thinking I was protecting him.

As a parent, this is a time we have to be aware of what we talk about in front of our kids.

We also need to be truthful about the seriousness, but also calm and collected.

From our family’s faith, we assure our son that God is in control, and this is the rest and peace we experience—knowing that God is not surprised about all of this.

So don’t wait to talk with your kids. They know something is up, and information is everything for them right now.

Here are five things you should discuss with your kids about current events, that will help them better process, not feel fearful, and understand their part.

parent and child holding hands

1. Have a talk with them about what is happening in an age appropriate way.

Make sure they know that children are much less susceptible, but can also be carriers.

With that being said, teaching them the importance of hand-washing, healthy eating for a good immune system, and not to touch their faces.

Tell them that we have to do our best not to spread germs so that others who are more susceptible won’t get sick.

Your child might be anxious about their school closing, and this can feel very serious to them. Assure them that’s it’s a health safety precaution and will benefit everyone in the end.

Be informative and as transparent as you feel is appropriate to their age.

father and son being healthy

2. Get on the same page as a family about boosting your immune system and eating healthily.

Everyone is discussing washing hands, but I am not seeing people pointed to the fact that staying healthy is one of the best ways to protect yourself against illness.

Check out my blog post – How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally and Fast

It’s full of helpful information from a Naturopath, as well as a Pharmacist.

To the best of your ability, eat healthily as a family.

family playing games

3. Have a game plan as to how to keep your family distracted and occupied if you’re quarantined.

If you can, look at this event as an incredible way to draw emotionally close with your family. It’s forced family time that can produce beautiful memories with one another.

Play games, read books, enjoy one another.

If your mindset is, “Oh brother, I will be stuck in the house with my kids for who knows how long,” then you might not enjoy this time.

Instead, try to see things through a positive light and create distractions for your family.

When you all need some downtime, Common Sense Media is a great resource for a time like this.

Also, my son LOVES to play on ABCYA.COM – interactive learning games and apps.

If you want something faith-based, your church might have free membership access to RightNow Media, which has wholesome and safe shows for kids.

Check out Top 10 Online Learning Websites for Kids

Also, don’t forget about the power of socializing technology. If your child has a piano lesson, then you can possibly keep the lesson over zoom. Find creative ways to be social with their friends.

My son and his cousin love to FaceTime while they play video games together. He loves it, and is able to stay emotionally close to his best friend, even though they live hours away.

family at home

4. Assure them that your family is safe, no matter what

Our family is Christian, and as Christians, it’s important that along with being transparent about the dangers of what’s happening, our ultimate hope and peace is relying on the fact that God is in control, no matter what.

This is an incredible opportunity to teach your kids about prayer and faith.

Because of my faith, I’m not scared of what could, will, or is happening.

And by believing that, my kids can witness that no matter what happens, God is good.

Modeling your faith in this time is a great way to show your kids there is more to life than feeling safe or comfortable at all times. We live in a society that gives us pretty much everything we could want, which sometimes makes it hard for parents to teach their kids about contentment and gratitude.

Check out our Kids Printable Journals, designed to help your kids process emotions, spark creativity, and encourage gratitude.

When struggle comes, it’s a gateway to growth as a family—stick together and trust in a God who has ultimate control.

We can do the best we can with the information we have, but only God knows the future.

What an amazing opportunity to have our kid’s witness that having faith is much more than going to church on Sundays.

family laughing

5. Show them that this is a time to be selfless and not selfish

Teaching is good. Showing is better. Be the example.

As I look around at how our society is handling this, I am not surprised by the fact that a pandemic can cause people to turn inward, with self-preservation at the forefront of their minds.

As there is nothing wrong with making sure your family is taken care of, extend your knowledge, support, and love to others in need.

This can look as simple as calling an elderly person to ask them how they are, or if they need help ordering groceries.

I am so grateful that in this time I can show my kids what it means to live out my faith, and not let the fear or chaos of the world turn me upside down. Sure, I have my moments, and you will, too.

Do your best to give your kids a solid and safe space, and take heed of the opportunity to grow closer with one another if you’re quarantined at home.

Stay positive, joyful, and don’t let fear dismantle you. We can get through this, especially if everyone comes together as a community and does what’s needed.

Author

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. If she's not at her desk writing content on family life, she's adventuring the world with her husband and two boys.

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