Posts Tagged ‘ breaking news ’

Tips for Talking to Kids About Natural Disasters

Friday, May 27th, 2011

tornado-oklahomaNatural disasters are making the news again, the most recent being an endless string of tornadoes that struck mostly midwestern and southern states in the U.S., including Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri.  Increasing TV updates and news photos focusing on the death toll and destruction brings to mind other disturbing images of the Japan tsunami from March. consulted experts from Project Recovery Iowa, a  Department of Human Services program funded by FEMA and administered by the state of Iowa. Project Recovery Iowa offers mental health counseling for those affected by natural disasters.  The program was started in 2008 to assist people coping with the after effects of severe storms and flooding in Iowa.  Amanda Gesme, Children’s Manager at Project Recovery Iowa and licensed mental health counselor, shared advice on how parents can talk to kids about natural disasters.

First, parents should approach the topic of tragic events in a calm, patient, and truthful manner.  If your children are aware of current events, it’s ok to ask them first to start a discussion and answer questions, even ones that are repeated over and over.  Kids are looking for reassurance when processing information, so be open to talking.  Even if you don’t have all the answers, says Gesme, validate what your child tells you.  However, make sure to limit exposure to media or any unnecessary details.  “Children are smart — even if parents are careful and talk in whispers or behind closed doors, they know that ‘something’ is going on,” explains Gesme.  Even children as young as 2 years old are aware when something important is happening.


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GoGoNews, Online News Site for Children

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Help your children stay informed in current events by reading age-appropriate, filtered news at, a website that brings “big news to little people” through kid-friendly stories devoid of photos and details meant for older readers.

Golnar Khosrowshahi, a mother raising twin daughters in Canada, created GoGoNews in 2006 as a daily online newsletter for her kids.  Eventually, the kid-friendly newsletter grew in popularity among friends, family, and schools, which lead to the creation of a website that will  be updated every day of the week by editors, with input from teachers, child psychologists, educators, and other advisors.

“We created GoGoNews to inform kids about world events in a safe manner, feeding their young, inquisitive minds with real news, while also protecting them from content that is too sophisticated or beyond their comprehension,” says Khosrowshahi. “With GoGoNews, we are creating the opportunity for children to improve their literacy, gain a new vocabulary and learn about different people, countries, and cultures in a fun and entertaining format.”

Just launched today, the site will cover breaking news, science, art, government, politcs, geography, and more on the homepage.  Five other categories include “Planet” (environment and space news), “Cool” and “Fun” (“on this day” facts and birthdays plus silly jokes), “Picks” (book, toys, and gift recommendations from editors and kids), and “Teach” (guidance for parents and teachers on how to discuss difficult news).  The site also has “GoGoTV” (videos), “GoGoDictionary” (defines vocabularly, and an upcoming “GoGoGallery” of photos.

For a daily email update, parents and kids can also subscribe to the newsletter, GoGo On The Go, on the website.

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Jennifer Griffin: Mom and News Reporter Who Covered Osama bin Laden’s Death

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Jennifer Griffin, FOX News, Osama bin LadenThis past Sunday, Jennifer Griffin, a Pentagon Correspondent for FOX News, was at home in the D.C. area trying to tuck her 2-year-old son into bed, when a source called to announce bin Laden’s death.  Suddenly, from focusing on a child who was staying up past his bedtime, Griffin found herself focusing on confirming the death with multiple sources.  She called into FOX News to report on air and then from there, drove to the Pentagon to continue more reporting for the next 24 hours.  In addition to reporting on the war in the Middle East (she was there on 9/11) and national security issues, Griffin is also the mother of three young kids, two girls and one boy.

Read a first-hand account, shared with, of how this extraordinary working mom was involved in a memorable moment in American history:

“I had just gotten home from a friend’s house with 2-year-old Luke, my youngest.  It was later than his bedtime, and I was scrambling to warm him a bottle and convince him to put on pajamas. I was at the stove when all of my phones started ringing. The messages on my Blackberry made it seem like [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi had been killed. I put on the TV, gave Luke a bottle on the couch, and told him to be very quiet. That’s when I got a call saying that it was Osama bin Laden, but the source said I couldn’t go [on air] with [the news] unless I got a second confirmation. 

“I started dialing like mad and I had three phone lines going at once. I finally got an e-mail from a top-level intelligence source with a one word answer to my question, sent at 10:25 pm on Sunday, May 1: We got him? Dead?  The response, sent at 10:47 pm, was: Yes…


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How to Talk to Kids About Osama bin Laden

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Richard Rende

This post is by guest blogger Richard Rende, an associate professor of psychiatry and human Behavior at Brown University.

Our parental instinct is to protect the children, but when world events (such as the news about the capture and death of Osama bin Laden) are so prominent that our children may be affected, encourage them to talk and help them to feel as safe and secure as possible.

As a parent, here are key concepts that I would lean on when having a conversation about major news events, such as the one about Osama bin Laden.

Take the lead in introducing the news, even if you have a young child (3 or 4 years old), since it will be difficult shielding  kids from the conversation.  Given the high probability that your child will hear you or someone else discuss the news and the high level of emotions being experienced, make some reference to the event or to the idea that many adults are talking about something important.  Your child will then know that he can talk to you about it. The one caveat: if you choose not to initiate the conversation,  be ready to discuss it if your child brings it up. But this is certainly a judgment call and you are the best judge of your child, so trust your instincts. 


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