How to help kids process recent — and ongoing — current events

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Coronavirus-induced isolation, an inconsistent school year, fallout from the violence in Washington, D.C. — kids are living through many back-to-back historic and potentially life-changing events.

Counselor and author L.J. Jackson said young people are dealing with many anxieties as a result, like missing friends, fearing that their parents will get sick, or falling behind in school.

“The newness of it all is something that they’re trying to wrap their heads around and understand,” she said. “Whether they’re toddlers or pre-teens or teens or young adults, this is their first go-round for a lot of them with something as intense as what we’ve been going through in 2020 and the first start of 2021.”

For parents, Jackson suggests not listening to the news when children are around. Also, talk to them about how they’re feeling, reassure them that everything will be OK, and come up with things to look forward to.

“Their brains are still developing and they’re thinking in the moment, here and now, so just help them think and create a bright future so that no matter what happens, they can see beyond this.”

For example, make a vision board that you and your children can post pictures and lists of things to look forward to. Kids need consistency, especially during the inconsistency of today.

“With young people, hope is very important, and so it’s kind of like our gas tank,” she alluded. “Just kind of do a check-in with them periodically. Whether they want to talk or not, make sure their ‘hope tank’ is filled.”