As parents it often seems that every time we turn on the news there are frightening images and sounds. Our hearts at Technology in Early Childhood Center (TEC) at Erikson Institute go out to our colleagues and friends in the US and across the globe, but as child development experts we are also being mindful to the needs of children everywhere who may be exposed to many of the images and sounds that will be broadcast across every digital and print medium in the coming days. As leading experts in child development and the use of technology with children and families, Erikson and the TEC Center are here to help parents be media mentors and advocates for their children.
Here are 5 tips to help keep your children in the coming days away from the scary images that will be on many screens, radio broadcasts, newspapers, and magazines:
• Turn off the news and screens with frightening images when your children are present. Be mindful and be present with your children. Pause and think before you turn on a radio, television or tech device.
• Kindly ask a restaurant manager to turn the channel if you are dining out and they have the news on and your children are in viewing or listening distance. Distract your child when walking past newsstands or the magazine rack in grocery stores.
• Keep comforting routines consistent as children often sense and know when parents are stressed or discussing something difficult.
• Take time to talk and read books about all of the positive people doing good things in the world to keep us safe such as firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other trusted adults. In the words of Fred Rogers,”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”