Your 7 1/2-year-old: Understanding the news

Your 7 1/2-year-old: Understanding the news

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Your 7-year-old now

War can be a scary subject for second graders. They see it on the news or hear grown-ups talking about it but aren't sure about its direct impact on their lives.

Don't try to hide headlines from your child. While it's a good idea to limit her screen time and radio news (especially channels that repeat the same news summaries every few minutes), you shouldn't shy from answering questions as directly and reassuringly as you can. Underscore that the fighting is far away and your child is safe.

Kids who are especially vulnerable to anxiety about war news are those who have some other major trauma or uncertainty going on in their lives, such as divorcing parents or a sick parent. Anxiety can show itself as extra clinginess, sleep disturbances, or fear of having you out of sight, including separation anxiety at school drop-off.

Help your child feel more secure in uncertain phases by providing extra TLC. Cuddle more; make more time to be together. Validate her feelings: Instead of "Don't worry," say, "I know you're worried, but the war is very far away, and the soldiers are well trained to protect us."

Children who have a parent or relative serving in the military will have particular anxieties, of course. Do avail yourselves of all the counseling and support the armed services offer, even if your child doesn't seem to be outwardly affected.

Your life now

Let your child know she's part of an extended family. At this age, she's better able to keep the family tree in her head, so tell her the names of relatives and cousins often, especially those who live far away.

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