How to talk to kids about Boston bombings

Dr. Elizabeth Gosch

April 20, 2013 5:15:13 PM PDT
News of the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the search for those responsible has dominated news coverage this week.

But, if you have young children at home, it may be best to limit their exposure to the event.

For the youngest kids, child psychologist Elizabeth Gosch says if they haven't seen or heard about the bombings, keep it that way.

However, older kids may still hear about it at school, through friends or on social media.

So, Gosch says you should ask your child what he or she knows, clear up any misinformation and do your best to answer their questions.

"Try to answer them matter-of-factly with not much drama or too much detail, because that's not going to help them," said Gosch.

What will help, she said, is reassurance.

"So, if they know that you, as a parent, are going to protect them and take care of them, that will make them feel better most of the time," Gosch said.

For older kids and teenagers, they will likely have more questions. Again, ask what they know, and help them limit exposure.

"Sometimes, over-exposure to very upsetting events on TV or radio, things like that, can be upsetting for them and not very helpful," said Gosch.

Also, be on the lookout for signs that children aren't coping well, such as trouble sleeping, nervous about everyday activities, or are asking for excessive information.

If you see those signs, you'll want to give them more re-assurance, or they may need to talk to a specialist.

Gosch says this is something that can be treated fairly quickly with kids who are, for the most part, very resilient.