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How to talk to children about disturbing news

Wednesday 18 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Brussels, Paris, November 18th, 2015 (SIGNIS/ Wan-IFRA/B. Cooper/Le Monde). Paris was the victim of terrorists attacks on Nov. 13th. It’s not always easy to talk to children about this events. That’s wy, the editor of three age-specific dailies for children, François Dufour, provides some advice that editors and publishers who want to help parents and teachers deal with explaining horrific events in the news.

Based on his 20 years of providing news to youth of all ages in France, Play Bac chief editor François Dufour offers six tips for discussing tough news events with children:

  • First, make sure the child really wants to talk about it at all!
  • If the child wants to talk about it, begin with the questions they have: encourage them to talk, taking all the time they need to ask their own questions.
  • Adapt your speaking: Keep your answers simple, understandable and intelligible.
  • If you need to use difficult words (terrorist, Islamist ...), explain them. If necessary, check in the dictionary together
  • Explain the difference between events (facts) and opinions: children often confuse the two.
  • In some ways, there is no difference by age groups: The reality is the same for all. If reality is shocking, it is normal for your child to be shocked. Like you!

That said, parents must adapt to the issues of children according to their ages, giving more detail to the oldest and more explanation of words to the youngest. The younger the child is, the more you have to offer ‘small talk,’ making even shorter sentences and even simpler words. Give even more attention to vocabulary. For example, while the words "Republican values" may be understandable to a 16-year-old, they will need explaining to an eight-year-old.”

Here, you can find other resources to help CHILDREN UNDERSTAND AND COPE
(In English unless otherwise specified)

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