Every morning we come down stairs and I turn the news on (BBC America or The Today Show, usually the latter unless I’m looking for more factual news on something that’s just happened) for about an hour and we have our breakfast and that is the way we start the day. I am always very particular with what’s on the TV, and the news isn’t any different. I have had to turn it off, quite recently I knew the next story they were doing was on bullying (showing clips of kids being bullied) and I did turn it off for that portion. I don’t allow it to be on unless I’m in the room to keep an eye on it.
I know there are a lot of questions surrounding this topic and I’ve included a list of resources and ideas for those of you who would like to include ‘kid friendly” news at your house but don’t know where to start. You will have to decide which of the headlines are age appropriate for your kids. If your kids are a little sensitive about what’s on the news I would suggest waiting a few years until you can really sit down with them and explain it better. Once kids are school age, I do agree that they should be more aware of what’s going on the world in an age appropriate way. Chances are they’re going to hear things from their friends and I prefer to be able to sit down and really explain it to them myself.
Once you feel like it’s appropriate to talk to your kids about what’s going on in the world use it as a learning tool! For example: Getting a map out and saying “The people in Haiti really need our help, they need supplies, food and water. Do you have ideas of what we can do to help?” Getting your kids involved in an age appropriate way is a great experience for them to learn about world events and you don’t necessarily have to go into the gory details for everything. I have friends who volunteer with their kids at Matthew 25 in Blue Ash (I believe in the warehouse) which is a great learning experience for kids!
For kid specific news websites and more ideas:
- DOGO News – great site with so many resources for parents!
- Time For Kids – latest news for kids aged K-6
- Scholastic News Online
- National Geographic for Kids
I also came across this great article from Mediocre Mum in the UK. It’s worth reading because it does get you thinking! I don’t know about you but I always look at all sides of the story before I make my mind up! There is also one more thing really worth reading. It’s an article about how to talk with your kids about the news and it is fantastic! Pay particular attention to the age appropriate portion of this article from Children Now – Talk With Your Kids. They talk about pre-school age children and how they should NOT be exposed to all kinds of media because it can lead to them being “desensitized” from prolonged exposure of common place crime and violence. They also go over things such as:
- Watch or Read The News With Your Kids
- Creating an Open Dialogue
- Let your kids know the different between news and reality
- Acknowledge your child’s fears
- Exploring the facts with your children
- How to balance your kids “news diet”