Teaching Kids the News of the Day
Sometimes I just want to throw out the newspaper before my kids get a chance to see how horrible the world can be. Who wants to answer questions about shootings, bombs, and earthquakes to a five-year-old or a seven-year-old, or even a 10-year-old?
But at the same time, providing context to the world is a parent's job. And so I waffle between exposing my kids to the news and shielding them from the harsh realities.
I have learned that being honest and clear and making kids feel safe is very important when talking about current events. But not all current events are horrible and I don't always keep on top of what my kids are interested in or what they need to know.
There are some new websites that are trying to clear up the confusion and help kids learn about the world around them in child-appropriate ways. My favourites include:
Teach Kids News: This site is maintained by Toronto teachers and has lots of news and sports stories that are relevant to kids. You can select by grade level or interest topic. The people behind this site really know kids and how to write for them.
Scholastic News: This is another great site by the Scholastic publishing company. It has kid-friendly stories, quizzes and entertainment news but doesn't shy away from the big stories. Their package on the earthquake in Haiti was one of their most-read stories of the year. There is also a Kids Press Corps where the kids are the reporters.
Gogo News: This was started by Caroline Lapham (irrelevant fact: she's the daughter of Brian Mulroney and married to the son of esteemed Harper's magazine editor Lewis Lapham). It is geared to younger kids and has jokes and light news. It's not the most informative site, but I think they have plans to beef it up.
I'm not sure that reading these sites will be a daily activity for kids (considering they can't take them to the bathroom), but I think it is good to know that the Internet can provide context and news and not just opportunities to dress up a penguin.
How do you explain current events to your kids? Do you use the Internet for help to explain the news?
Want More? Last year I wrote one of my favourite posts: the Currency of Sleep. Have you lied about how much your baby sleeps? Have you played F*ck your partner too?