May 30, 2013

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TIPS and RESOURCES for Parents to Talk to their Kids about Current Tragedies in the News... @press4kids

Last month I did a post on Dr. Phyllis Ohr, Child Psychologist for Press4Kids on how to talk to your kids about the Boston Marathon Tragedy. In light of the recent events with the Oklahoma City Tornadoes and the terrorist attack in London, we thought we would share these valuable tips once more for those of you who have not seen them and/or have not checked out, News-O-Matic, a valuable resource for parents.

Making sense of the current tragedies around the world from the Boston marathon bombings, to the Oklahoma City Tornadoes to the recent terrorist attack in London can be quite a challenge for adults, let alone children. As parents know, children process these things differently.  They may be asking difficult questions and parents may need suggestions to help discuss what happened and address their concerns. Since directing them to the New York Times to read about it or any other news source is not an option, Press4Kids developed News-O-Matic.

News-O-Matic is an educational news app that covers breaking news, sports, science and much more in an accessible and kid-friendly way.

Targeted to kids ages 7-10News-O-Matic is a week day newspaper application which includes five daily news stories, detailed images, videos, illustrations, maps, timelines and games. P4K’s objective is to inspire a generation of children to become habitual news readers and well-informed global citizens.

News-O-Matic gives children the opportunity to explore the latest current events through the app, while also giving them a voice to express their views. Children can interact with the Editor-in-Chief by rating stories, drawing pictures, asking questions or expressing opinions about current topics in the “News Room” section of the app.

Created by a skilled team—including child experts, designers and entrepreneurs—News-O-Matic aims to transform the news experience for children in a safe, interactive environment while encouraging them to become knowledgeable, productive members of society.

You can download News-O-Matic, Daily for Kids - Press4Kids on iTunes

Here are  some tips from Dr. Phyllis Ohr, Child Psychologist for News-O-Matic, on talking to your children about today’s current events and news stories if they have questions or concerns. 

1.      When the event does not personally affect the child, reassure them that everything is okay with the people they love and that nothing has changed for them.

2.     Be sure to stress to children that if they do have questions to ask parents, teachers as well as friends. Other children having the same feelings may be comforting.

3.    Begin by giving the child a brief synopsis of what happened by using age appropriate language. Ask if there is something they want to know more about or if they need something explained further. If so, stick to pointedly answering their question or clarifying. Do not add on or digress.

4.    Do not assume the news will make children feel a certain way. Ask if they know how they feel, but stress that kids feel all different ways when they hear important news and sometimes do not know how they feel or do not feel anything which is okay. However, if children are affected by it, it is their own feeling. Reassure children that no matter what they are feeling, their feelings are okay.

5.    If they are upset but don't want to talk, suggest a fun activity for distraction or help them use calming skills like playing, drawing a picture or writing a story. These activities help release any upset feelings and make children feel better.
I know we all wish we could shield our kids from all things evil, tragic, etc.  In light of recent events... school shootings, bombings, storm destruction, etc.  I have taken to telling the kids exactly what is going on.  I know they are just K & 1st grade, but I don't want them hearing it from someone else or getting bad info from other kids.  What I love about News-O-Matic is that they feel children deserve a safe, age-appropriate tool to help them understand current events and to learn how those events affect the world around them.   It was exactly what I was looking for!  A safe and age appropriate way to help them understand the news they hear!

Every day there are five new news stories for kids to read!  My daughter is an avid reader and loves this app.  She loves to read the stories, ask questions, etc.   This is such an informative app and educational!  As a parent, I love it!  It has become part of our daily reading routine, even though my son is not able to read everything (he is finishing up K), he does love the games.  We dedicate time to homework, reading and then answering any questions they may have.   I am glad my kids are informed, I think it makes them more aware of what is going on around them!  I highly recommend this app!

For more information visit Make sure to "like" Press4Kids on Facebook and follow on Twitter for the latest updates.

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1 comment:

  1. It is sad that we need such resources these days. However, it is a great resource to have as parents for our kiddos.