Helping Children Talk About Their Scary Feelings

Written by Debbie Riek, Education Coordinator | Dec 14, 2012 4:13 PM

When scary things happen, it is difficult to know how to handle children’s questions and concerns. We'd like to offer some thoughts from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and PBS Kids that may be of help to you and the children in your care at this time. Talking about our fears can often help make them less frightening so be open to issues that your children may raise.

  • When children mention something frightening, find out what they know about it. (Their fantasies are often very different from the actual truth!) Listening carefully and respecting their concerns can assure them that they can talk about anything with you.
  • Somewhere deep inside each one of us human beings is a longing to know that all will be well. Our children need to hear from us adults that we will do everything we can to keep them safe and to help them grow in this world.
  • When Fred Rogers was a boy and would see scary things on the news, his mother would say to him, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
  • Families and care givers are of prime importance in your child's life -- what you do, think and say are powerful influences on the children in your care. By helping them find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings -- ways that don't hurt them or anyone else, you're helping to make our world a better, safer place.

More information is available online.  Here’s a link to the @PBSParents section on talking to children about news:

Here’s a link to a few pointers from @PBSParents and Mister Rogers on talking to kids about scary news:

We hope you find this information helpful.

Your friends at witf.

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