Children often have varying levels of media exposure and knowledge when it comes to news events. Whenever you hear children discussing events, it is important that you clarify what they are discussing. As such, you're able to clear up any misinformation and offer reassurance. It is important to convey information in an age-appropriate way.
Here are strategies early childhood educators can use when discussing news events:
- Only discuss news events when you know preschoolers have been exposed to them. You may become aware of this if you observe noticeable changes in their behavior, including having difficulty sleeping during nap time if this is not characteristic or children playing with toys in an aggressive fashion. Children may also start conversations about events they have seen on television or heard their parents discussing.
- Do discuss news that is related to your preschoolers' lives. Just as it's important to build children's general background knowledge, it is also important to have conversations that educate children about the world they live in. For instance, your discussions may concern the weather, an upcoming election and what elections mean or the importance of healthy eating or recycling.
- Reaffirm children that they are safe. It is normal for children to feel frightened or threatened upon learning of scary news events. They may automatically associate the event with themselves, thinking they are in direct danger. In light of this tendency, it is critical to reassure the children in your care that the news event will not affect them and that they should feel safe.
It is important to practice safety routines, including fire drills, with both children and your staff. Reviewing these procedures ahead of time can reduce childrens' fears, and also ensure that your center is prepared to handle an emergency.
For more resources on online child care training, including CDA classes and training, refer to ProSolution's Training's website.