Children today are more in touch with everyday adult life than kids of previous generations. With the world literally at their fingertips through using the Internet and smart phones, children are frequently exposed to adult issues that they may not know how to process. Teachers and parents can help to explain complex situations to kids by keeping the following tips in mind.
Use Simple Terminology
When conversing about a complex issue, use simple words that a child can understand. Using sophisticated language or specialty terms may leave a child more confused than ever. Select a few basic words or phrases that are most pertinent to the situation and discuss them with the child.
Discuss Children’s Perceptions
Never assume how much a child knows or understands about a mature situation, like divorce or death. Find out what the child believes first, and then update or correct that impression as needed. Sometimes kids know more than we expect. An expert who specializes in child support help in Salt Lake City says that, if you’re telling the child about a divorce, it’s important to carefully choose the place and time of the discussion. Pick a place and locale which helps the child feel safe and secure–this can help the conversation stay productive. Before showering them with extensive details, let them explain what they believe to be true and decide what, if anything, should be added.
Offer a Basic Overview
Children often seize on the most fascinating aspect of an adult issue, which can be exciting or frightening. Parents and teachers can help to settle these emotions by offering a basic overview of the issue, perhaps including context or background, just enough to help a child grasp the big picture.
Answer Questions Directly
Often in this type of discussion, kids will have questions. Instead of ignoring them or answering vaguely, the adult should answer the question clearly, but without offering more information than is needed. This helps to avoid overwhelming a child with too much information that he or she may be unable to mentally or emotionally process.
Use Age-Appropriate Resources
There are numerous books and videos available on many topics that are challenging to children at the library or bookstore. In addition to specific teaching tools, regular movies, television programs, or music that older kids listen to can provide meaningful examples when discussing difficult situations in life. A natural resource provides visual or aural examples of an issue for the conversation when listening to music or watching a film.
No parent enjoys having a tough talk with a young child. Taking a thoughtful, simple approach supported by the right kind of resources can help the conversation to flow more smoothly. Plan ahead to prepare for a meaningful dialogue that help children to understand grownup issues.