The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 happens on Sunday. There will be much coverage in the news and online. As parents, we need to be prepared for questions and we might need to censor how much exposure our children receive about the events on 9/11/01. Trauma and violence and the scary feeling of uncertainty can cause all kinds of anxiety for children and for adults.
The age of your child should determine how much exposure they get to the media coverage.
The experts recommend that for up to preschool age, their exposure is extremely limited or they’re not exposed at all. Seeing images of the events can cause too much anxiety. Plan on having a TV-free day.
For elementary school-aged children:
Be brief without too many details
Stick to the facts
Don’t watch too much coverage and if possible, screen it first to make sure what you’re watching is not too graphic.
For middle school and high school aged kids:
Answer their questions honestly but don’t go overboard with details
Reassure them that things are better and safer now
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a video that talks about how to help kids through disasters.
If you want to do something positive, make cookies and take them to your local fire department. Plant a tree. Thank a police officer. These are all things that we can do to focus on the positive and not on the scary stuff.
Be aware of overexposure for your kids and for yourself. Our children pick up on our stress and anxiety. There will be enough stress later, as adults. For right now, let them be kids.