When The News is Scary, What Do You Say To Kids?

Jayla Pendleton

Do your kids watch the news? On the news, you can see anywhere from a deadly tornado to a school shooting. These events can leave parents struggling to know when–and how–they should talk with their kids about it. Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Tara Conle, a media studies professor at Montclair State University, gave tips.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Limit their exposure to breaking news
  • For the really big stories, pick a quiet moment and start the conversation by asking what kids have heard and how they’re feeling.
  • Give facts and context: Let kids know that most scary news events are rare. Show them where it is happening on a map.
  • When they ask why something happened, avoid labels like “bad guys.”
  • Encourage kids to process the story through play, art, or even video.
  • Take positive action together.

All credit goes to National Public Radio. For more information, go to: