Ten Tips for Talking with Children about Violence

  1. If you feel uncertain about how to start this conversation with children, practice with adults first. Notice the parts of the conversation where you might need assistance and ask for support from other adults.
  2. Ask children what they know and what they have heard. Listen to the child’s story and follow the child’s lead. Use simple language and correct any misunderstood accounts. Tell a child what they need to know, not all that you know.
  3. Be there and be calm. Monitor your own emotion and tone of voice. Pay attention to your gestures, affect, and voice because children pay special attention to these ways of communicating. Children scan the faces, voices, and movements of others to discern safety. Your presence, voice, words, soft and loving touches, provide each child with the best ways of feeling safe.
  4. Share your feelings. It is okay and important for children to know that the adults in their lives have the same feelings when bad things happen. Ask about their feelings. Often children will experience and express their feelings through their body states. Ask them “what” and “where” they feel (e.g., head, tummy, chest, neck, etc.) as well as “how” do they feel.
  5. Recognize that there are some feelings that we can only share and cannot fix: Children need us to be there with and for them at such times. It’s appropriate to both not have an answer and be with the children in their sadness and confusion.
  6. While we encourage telling children about the events of January 6th, monitor repeated exposure to images and reports of the events. Provide enough exposure to inform, but not frighten.
  7. If children do get scared, remember the 3R’s of security: Relationships, Routines and Restoration. Highlight relationships with familiar and consistent caregivers, family, and friends. Protect and increase routines that are familiar and normalizing.
  8. Provide structure and communicate safety: Uncertainty is the province of adulthood. While we as adults may feel unsure of the state of our democracy, we must always let children know that we will take care of them and protect them.
  9. A sense of mastery can help alleviate fear and uncertainty. Encourage your children to get involved in a community or service program such as collecting items for a food bank, making a call to their Congressperson, signing a petition, or writing a letter to someone in local government about something that they would like to help change in their community.
  10. Remember to take care of yourself: We have all been living with the collective stress of Covid-19 and political uncertainty for a l-o-n-g time. Yet, we know that if the adults in a child’s life are overwhelmed, overstressed, and overtired, it will be more difficult for the child to feel safe, secure and stable. Prioritize the cultivation of the “ABCs” of self-care: awareness, balance, and connection, in your own life.

(Costa, G. & Mulcahy, K, 2021)

Diez consejos para hablar con niños sobre la violencia

1. Si no está seguro de cómo iniciar esta conversación con los niños(as), practique primero con los adultos. Observe las partes de la conversación en las que podría necesitar ayuda y pida apoyo a otros adultos.

2.Pregunte a los niños(as) qué saben y qué han escuchado. Escuche la historia del niño(a) y siga su liderazgo. Use un lenguaje sencillo y corrija cualquier malentendido. Dígale al niño(a) lo que necesita saber, no todo lo que usted sabe.

3.Estar allí y estar tranquilo. Monitorea sus propias emociones y tono de voz. Prestar atención a sus gestos, afecto y voz porque los niños(as) prestan atención especial a estas formas de comunicación. Los niños(as) escanean los rostros, voces y movimientos de los demás para discernir la seguridad. Su presencia, voz, palabras, toques suaves y amorosos, proporcionan a cada niño(a) las mejores maneras de sentirse seguro.

4. Comparta sus sentimientos. Está bien y es importante que los niños(as) sepan que los adultos en sus vidas tienen los mismos sentimientos cuando suceden cosas malas. Pregúnteles por sus sentimientos. A menudo los niños experimentarán y expresarán sus sentimientos a través de sus estados corporales. Pregúnteles “qué” y “dónde” se sienten (por ejemplo, cabeza, barriga, pecho, cuello, etc.), así como “cómo” se sienten.

5.Reconocer que hay algunos sentimientos que sólo podemos compartir y no podemos arreglar: Los niños(as) necesitan que estemos allí con y para ellos(as) en esos momentos. Es apropiado no tener una respuesta y estar con los niños(as) en su tristeza y confusión.

6. Si bien animamos a contar a los niños(as) acerca de los acontecimientos del 6 de enero, supervise la exposición repetida a imágenes e informes de los acontecimientos. Proporcione suficiente exposición para informar, pero no asustar.

7. Si los niños(as) se asustan, recuerde las 3R de seguridad: Relaciones, Rutinas y Restauración. Resalte las relaciones con cuidadores, familiares y amigos consistentes. Proteger y aumentar las rutinas que son familiares y normalizadoras.

8. Proporcionar estructura y comunicar la seguridad: La incertidumbre pertenece a la edad adulta. Si bien nosotros, como adultos, podemos sentirnos inseguros del estado de nuestra democracia, siempre debemos hacer saber a los niños(as) que los cuidaremos y los protegeremos.

9.Un sentido de maestría puede ayudar a aliviar el miedo y la incertidumbre. Anime a sus hijos(as) a involucrarse en su comunidad o en un programa de servicio, como recoger artículos para un banco de alimentos, hacer una llamada a su congresista, firmar una petición o escribir una carta a alguien en el gobierno local sobre algo que les gustaría ayudar a cambiar en su comunidad.

10.. Recuerde cuidarse: Todos hemos estado viviendo con el estrés colectivo de Covid-19 y la incertidumbre política por un tiempo l-a-r-g-o. Sin embargo, sabemos que si los adultos en la vida de un niño(a) están abrumados, sobrecargados y cansados, será más difícil para el niño(a) sentirse seguro, protegido y estable. Priorizar el cultivo de las “ABC’ del cuidado personal: conciencia, equilibrio y conexión, en tu propia vida.

(Costa, G. & Mulcahy, K, 2021)

Kelly Gets a Vaccine: How We Beat Coronavirus

Kelly Gets a Vaccine: How We Beat Coronavirus

by Lauren Block MD MPH and Adam Block PhD; Illustrated by Debby Rahmalia

Discover along with 8-year-old Kelly the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine, what to expect during and after the vaccine, and how vaccination will help us begin to move beyond the pandemic.

Authors of “Kelly Stays Home: The Science of Coronavirus” and “Kelly Goes Back to School: More Science on Coronavirus” which have been downloaded over 25,000 times are back with their most important book yet on how the vaccine works and the importance of being vaccinated.

A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), released a new brief, A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color, that unpacks the harm of systemic racism to children’s development and describes how the coronavirus pandemic has magnified pervasive inequities in health, education, employment, and other factors across race and ethnicity.

Programs that help families meet their basic needs urgently need immediate shoring up. And policymakers must prioritize families of color who are most harmed by the coronavirus. We make the case for focusing on the needs of families of color with infants and toddlers in coronavirus relief and systemic policy reform efforts to ensure that policies do not continue or add to inequities.

Anti-racism Resources

This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. It includes books, videos, films, etc.

If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.

 

 

Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem

Bias is again making the news. It exists in each of us, consciously or unconsciously.

Research from the Yale Child Study Center suggests that many preschool teachers look for disruptive behavior in just one place, waiting for it to appear.

The problem with this strategy (besides it being inefficient), is that, because of implicit bias, teachers are spending too much time watching black boys and expecting the worst.

Listen to this NPR recording from 2016.

 

 

 

POSTER: Supporting Young Children’s Social-Emotional Needs After Change

Relationships, routine, and supportive teaching of social-emotional skills have always been important.  After any big change, these become even more essential!

Here’s a poster from the Nebraska Association for Infant Mental Health with a few reminders of those important steps you can take towards ensuring young children’s social-emotional needs are met and they are able to thrive!

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