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Talking to Children About Sensitive News

Though we may wish otherwise, the events that happen in our world are often negative, and can be of a sensitive nature for our children and pupils to deal with.

Here at Picture News, we believe children should be in tune with current affairs. There are many benefits of improving children’s global awareness, which we’ve discussed previously.

However, exposing children to current affairs comes with responsibility. Use this blog to help you navigate conversations with children regarding sensitive news topics.

4 Tips for Talking to Children About Sensitive News

  • Keep it age-appropriate

For children to best understand news stories, use their age and developmental stage to guide your conversations.

As children grow older, they tend to absorb information differently. Young children can be literal; for example, if you tell them there’s a monster under their bed, they’ll likely believe you!

With this in mind, ensure their exposure to news content is age-appropriate and vetted.

  • Allow for emotional expression

Sensitive news topics may stir up a variety of emotions for the child, some of which may be unexpected.

Create opportunities for the child to reflect on their feelings and allow them to express their emotions in different ways.

Try these mediums:

  • Visual aids
  • Post its
  • Emotion cards
  • Smiley faces
  • Talk-based approaches

  • Regulate your own emotions and interactions

Current affairs can often prompt a variety of responses and emotions for adults as well as children, including fear, anger, and frustration.

Ensuring you are calm when having news-based conversations will keep your discussion as a safe space for you and the child.

  • Look for the positives

Global news events can often teach us important life lessons.

Begin to analyse current affairs.

Does the story teach us anything about morality, culture, or citizenship?

Does the topic inspire action from us? Does it spark new ideas and opinions?

Instead of sheltering children from the news, seeking new angles and positive approaches can ultimately help children engage with current affairs. In turn, they will learn more about themselves and the world they live in.

We hope this helps your future conversations!

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