Seeking out current events for kids can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. Parents have to weigh teaching their kids about the world with protecting them from the evilness and brutality of that world. Luckily, there are many resources available to help parents choose age appropriate current events for kids.
Websites with Current Events for Kids
There are many wonderful online resources for sharing current events with kids, such as:
- CNN Student News-A recap of the day's news; geared more for middle school and high school students.
- News Currents-Program is available on three different levels for grades 3-12. Available online or via DVD.
There are many other websites that offer lesson plans to help parents and teachers learn how to share current events with kids. Here are just a few:
- 25 Great Ideas for Teaching the News-This article gives lesson and activity ideas relate to current events for kids.
- Teachnology-Offers numerous lesson plans on current events.
Protecting Children from Horrific News
This is a tough topic. As the parent, you know your child best. Many parents faced this tough decision when 9/11 happened, only to have their child see it on a station they didn't expect to see this horrific event on or their child heard about it at school. Sometimes it is easier to explain things in your own words, in a gentler way, but still giving the child knowledge of the event. What decision you make will vary, depending upon the age of your child and outside contact with other children or adults who may bring the topic up. Never underestimate the hearing ability of little ears. You many not realize a horrific event has impacted your child until he starts to have nightmares. If you choose to shield the child from the horrific news, avoid talking about the subject within hearing distance, even with other adults.
Some other ways to share current events with older children might include vetting the material first. You can read news online and print out articles or portions of articles that are age appropriate. This also gives you a chance to digest the news first so you can discuss it more clearly with your child.
According to Kidshealth.org, by the time a kid reaches about 7 years of age, he perceives what he sees on reality television as being real as opposed to imaginary. However, children have more of a tendency to make the news event person. "Will a plane crash into my school?" or "Will a tornado hit our house?" are common questions children of 7 or 8 might pose to parents after watching a news story about a disaster.
If your child exhibits these fears, the best response is a calm, no nonsense approach, such as: "It is extremely unlikely a tornado would ever hit our house. However, we have a warning system, so we'd know if one was coming anyway and we'd take cover. Don't worry. We'll all be safe."
Sharing current events with your child can help strengthen your bond and increase your child's intelligence about the world around him. Just use your best parental judgment, and don't be afraid to seek out advice from other parents or the school counselor.