Je Suis Bruxelles: How to Talk With Children About the News

je-suis-bruxellesHow do you talk to your child about the terrorist attacks in Belgium? It doesn’t have to be as tricky as it seems.

First, make sure your child feels safe and secure in your love as he grows up. Hugs, preparing a meal together, special time cuddling with a book—all of these routines help create the groundwork for a child to develop into a confident, resilient adult.

Second, limit exposure to the news, violent images, and sounds of explosions, screaming, and sirens. Far from being overly protective, this shows good sense and respect for your child.

Talk to your child about the news, find out what he knows, and then discuss it.  You don’t have to provide perfect answers, either. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know” and “You are safe here with me.”

Find positive images to show your child and talk about images of the slogan Je suis Bruxelles. Does he know what it means? Also show the Eiffel Tower and the Brandenburg Gate lit up to show solidarity and support. Can your child find Brussels, Belgium; Paris, France; and Berlin, Germany on the map?   Use a globe and your finger to trace the distance from your home to each of these places.

When we talk to children about the news in honest and healthy ways, we help them understand possibilities, change, and that there is more good in the world than bad. Appropriate communication surrounded by love always works.

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