What a time to be a parent.

First, the coronavirus and the impact that has had on your family. Maybe the loss of a job, schools being closed, the kids being home, working from home, change in finances, maybe even the loss of a loved one because of Covid-19.

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And now, George Floyd, the protests, the violence, the discussions of racism, and police brutality.

The images are everywhere. You can't avoid them. The news cycle is never ending.

As a parent, what do you do? What do you say? Could you use some help?

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Let's start with the younger ones.

While children younger than three aren't going to understand what is happening on television, they will be able to pick up on the "fear, urgency, or anger in people's voices and behaviors".
At this age, stress shows up in fussy or unregulated behavior. To keep that from occurring, parents should read, listen to or watch the news when the baby isn't physically there. (CNN)
While helpful for all races, it's especially important for white children to see brown and black kids in a positive light to fight systemic racism, experts say. Books that profile multi-racial characters are an excellent way for parents to do that. And since it's never too early to read to a baby, start right away. (CNN)
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Sesame Street is teaming up with CNN to host a town hall called Coming Together: Standing up to Racism. The show will air on CNN this Saturday, June 6th at 10 a.m. (ET). (Woman’s Day)

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What about our older kids? How do we approach them when their world is filled with social media and outside influences like their friends and peer pressure?

  • Don’t avoid talking about it. Racism and violence are things parents are reluctant to address, wanting to protect children from being frightened or upset. But children can come to harmful conclusions about race when it’s not discussed openly.
  • Try to be calm and factual. Children take their cues from parents, so talking to them calmly helps them process information. You don’t have to be a robot! It is appropriate to have emotional reactions, but try not to let them overwhelm the conversation.
  • Validate their feelings. Do your best to acknowledge whatever fears, anger or other negative feelings come up for them. This will look different for every child. Your child might be afraid of riots or they might be afraid of being hurt by the police themselves.
  • Encourage questions — and don’t worry if you can’t answer them. (Childmind.org)