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Talking To Your Child About Major World News Events

Talking To Your Child About Major World News Events

The past few years have been challenging for Canadian families: political firestorms, literal wildfires and other natural disasters, climate change, rising prices and economic hardship, not to mention a global pandemic. And now the world is on edge again watching a war unfold in Europe. As much as we may want to shield our children from frightening and complicated world events, it seems impossible to escape the 24-hour news cycle. Whether you are a family who embraces open discussions of current events, or you are a family who prefers to focus on life close to home, it is important for parents to listen, filter, and direct the conversation regarding major world news. Here are some tips for talking to your child about what is going on in the world at large.

Talking With Your Preschooler About Major News Events

The Best Place To Start
When everyone seems caught up in a major news event, the best place to begin a conversation is by asking your child what they have heard or seen. Encourage your child to elaborate on how they interpret the event and ask any questions they have. This initial conversation can help direct further discussion.

Explain What Has Happened
Your child may be satisfied with ending the conversation there, but if they seem to want to know more, continue the conversation. Within an age-appropriate context, explain the event clearly. If the event is close to home, help your child understand how it might affect them. If the event is somewhere else, look up the location on a map so they can see that they are not in danger. Let your child lead the discussion, answering questions they have and offering clarity when they request it, but do not overshare. It is not necessary to go into great detail about things like the cause of a war or the pending effects of global warming.

Don’t Dismiss Your Child’s Fears
Young children don’t have a clear sense of global scale. News events they learn about on the other side of the world may seem very close to home. Your child may express irrational fears like believing a tornado will hit your home after seeing one on the news, or that soldiers might show up at their school. Do your best to acknowledge their fear, empathize with how scary it may feel, and rationally explain why those occurrences are not likely to happen. Assure your child that they are safe and that you will continue to answer all of their questions and support them as they process the news.

Take The Opportunity To Learn More
If your child continues to show interest and/or fear in the event, take the opportunity to learn more. For instance, if your preschooler has seen children fleeing their home country, learn more about the country they have escaped to. Talk about what food the children might eat in the new country, what language their new friends may speak, or where they might go to school. If your child is worried about extreme weather events, research tornadoes or tropical storms. This information may reduce your child’s fears, distract them, or even empower them to learn more.

Be Part Of The Solution
One of the best ways to address lingering fears or feelings of helplessness in the wake of a major event is to brainstorm with your child about ways that together, you can help. This could mean drawing pictures for soldiers, collecting bottles to raise money for disaster relief, or even joining with neighbours in a movement to increase awareness of the need for climate action. When your child feels like they have agency and the ability to make a difference, the fear and uncertainty may fade away.

Nurturing Global Citizens At Grey Matter Montessori

One of the key components of a Montessori education is nurturing well-rounded, kind, and community-minded citizens with independent and critical thinking skills. We aim to foster an environment where children have a passion for learning and an interest in the world around them. If your preschooler is asking questions about local or global issues we encourage honest and open, age-appropriate dialogue with parents. Today’s Montessori preschool students are the next generation of leaders!

If you are interested in exploring the benefits of a Grey Matter Montessori education for your preschool or pre-k aged child, contact us to book a time for a school tour at our NW Calgary location. We are accessible just off of Symons Valley Parkway in the NW community of Evanston. Call us for more info on our early child education programming at 1-587-707-4739.


Q: Should I make sure my child is not exposed to the news?
A: You know your child best. And your family has an intrinsic set of values regarding politics, world news, and current events. If your child is particularly anxious, you may choose to avoid exposure to distressing information. If your family regularly engages in discussion about global happenings, your child may naturally engage and express opinions and viewpoints too. But regardless, if your child is asking questions about something they have heard, a child-led, age-appropriate conversation is encouraged.

Q: Is there a checklist of things my child must know before attending preschool?
A: At Grey Matter Montessori in Calgary, we value the differences that make each child unique. If your child is aged 3-6 they may be ready to begin to explore learning and we are ready to facilitate it. Learn more about exploring your child’s readiness for preschool here

Q: What types of enhanced activities are offered at Grey Matter Montessori in Calgary?
A: Besides the amazing variety of activities that are part of the Montessori program, the children are offered a variety of extracurricular activities such as art, dance, yoga, and martial arts. Meet some of our Calgary community partners here.

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