The recent events in Haiti are never far from my mind these days. I watch the news and I cannot believe the things have have happened over there—that are happening. Everything in our lives seems impossibly luxurious now, and I feel both grateful for our situation and helpless in the face of such an enormous tragedy.
We watch the news at night and if things aren’t too graphic, we let our preschooler watch it too. I’ve tried talking about the earthquake with him, but I don’t think he quite understands. He does want to know if earthquakes happen here, too, and he’s super focused on whether or not there are firefighters in Haiti because I think in his mind firefighters make everything okay.
It’s hard to know how to talk about subjects like Haiti with kids. I don’t want to scare him, but I do want to teach him a bit about what happened and what people are doing to help. I want him to understand how Mommy and Daddy are trying to help by sending money, so he knows that’s what our family does when we can.
For those of you with similar confusion and questions, here’s a list of resources I found when researching ideas for talking about Haiti and other difficult news events with children.
• This PBS classroom lesson plan is a good starting point for discussing the earthquake with older kids.
• Fellow Work It, Mom writer Lylah has a great post on this topic over at Boston.com.
• Care.com’s Robi Ludwig talks about how to explain tragedies to kids in this quick video Q&A.
• From a doctor with the MGH Psychiatry Department, this article discusses strategies for talking about Haiti or other tragic news events with children, from toddlers to adolescents.
• Tips for talking, and taking action to help.
I’d love to hear how you address topics like this with your kids. Have you found ways to share information without making it scary, or even how to encourage kids to get involved with charity?