Make the distinction between panic and preparedness to kids
THE world seems to have suddenly gotten very scary.
As panicked buyers strip shelves of toilet paper, hand wash and other life essentials, I'm left wondering what our kids must be thinking as they witness all the panic that's unfolding.
None of us can fix all the terrible things happening in the news each day but we can take responsibility for what our little ones are hearing.
Kids are little sponges and, even when they don't appear to be listening, they are very aware of our tears and fears.
Even older kids who might appear to be glued to a screen of some sort are still picking up bits and pieces but that doesn't mean they fully understand what it all means.
How could they? Even adults are left reeling by the latest news headlines.
From coronavirus warnings that have us talking about cancelling holiday plans to wiping away tears as news of yet another terrible family tragedy breaks or sharing our worries that suddenly there's another financial crisis threatening their job, our kids (or grandkids) are often there as little witnesses.
If you have little ones around it's important to keep things in perspective or redirect the conversation to something lighter.
Most of us have been through tough times so we know that no matter how bad things seem it will usually get better. Our kids don't know that yet.
We have to consider what they are hearing. If you think they are worrying about the news ask them about what they have heard and answer any questions honestly but there's no need to alarm them.
But why not put some distance between them and the news?
Turn off the TV more often. If they do see any confronting images talk to them about what it means - in a way that's appropriate for their age.
When the world is dark and gloomy it is up to us to make an effort to focus on the good stuff - read more books together, get outside and walk, play or ride with them.
Make a point of showing them that kindness matters by looking for opportunities to do something nice for someone.
We have a duty to teach our kids to be responsible citizens but let's do it in stages and always aim to tip the balance in favour of what's good and wonderful in their lives right now.