It is easy to get absorbed in social media and television coverage of the events taking place in our city. It is hard to capture the constructive and instructive pieces to help children process in developmentally appropriate ways what we are struggling to understand as adults. Here are some actions to consider:
- Limit access to social media by using available parental controls on all connected devices.
- Don’t keep the TV news running in “the background”. Sit down and watch with your child, and then turn it off.
- Use questions to facilitate discussion rather than doing all of the talking. Form questions that prompt rather than “yes or no” questions.
- Ask your child what they have seen or heard they don’t understand or found frightening.
- Ask what their friends are talking about on the bus, on the playground, on social media—what have they seen that has helped them understand?
- “How does that make you feel?” is a good question to ask and a good question for you to answer.
- Let your child talk without interruption.
- It is always OK for a child to know that adults don’t have all of the answers. It can be empowering for a child to hear an adult say, “I don’t know.”
- Always be truthful and honest with factual information.
- Watch a You Tube video of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”
- Encourage your child to find creative ways to express their fears and hopes.
- Watch your children, especially preschoolers, as they play. Imaginative play is how preschoolers explore, experiment and learn.
- Go to the library or book store and search for children’s books. Explore the link http://www.ala.org/emiert/coretta-scott-king-book-awards-all-recipients-1970-present \
- Here are two books I recommend: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and Hope is an Open Heart by Lauren Thompson
- Reassure your child in word and deed of your love for them.
As a parent, my prayer has always been that my children will be “more” than I am…more accepting, more loving, more caring. Though challenging and confusing, the events in our city are making history. As parents, may we guide our children to create a future that is “more”.