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Addressing Traumatic News with Children and Teens

The mental and emotional health and wellbeing of children and teens can be heavily affected by their exposure to traumatic news or media (Leiner, 2022). With the rise of the 24 hour news cycle,  children and teens are exposed to media covering traumatic events more often than ever, which can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and fear (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology, 2020). From reports on COVID-19 deaths to coverage of gun violence, addressing traumatic news with children and teens is essential to their wellbeing. Here are six steps for talking to children and teens about news events from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

1. Ask what they have heard or seen.
2. Ask what questions they have and how they feel about what's happened.
3. Explain what happened in a developmentally appropriate way.
4. Avoid graphic details and monitor media exposure.
5. Keep adult conversations outside the earshot of children.
6. Assure them it's okay to be bothered, upset, or have big feelings, and remind them that you/their grownup are there to support them.

How to Talk to Kids About Traumatic News Events. Instagram Template

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