It is very important to be aware of what your child is seeing and hearing in the media. Often, children are aware of much more than we know and seeing and hearing more than we realize. Khadijah Booth Watkins, MD, MPH, associate director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Mass General, offers tips for parents to keep in mind when managing stress induced by media exposure.

  • While it is important to try to limit the media exposure, it is also important to know what your child has seen or heard. Watch with them and listen for opportunities to start a dialogue. Discuss their worries and concerns, which also affords you the opportunity to correct any misinformation

  • Be careful not to assume what they are thinking. Instead, provide a space and time for them to express themselves. Listen and allow them to ask questions and share with you how they are feeling, using their own way

  • What is in the media can be overwhelming, and your child’s fears and worries can sometimes be out of proportion based on their understanding–or lack thereof. Anything your child imagines will likely be far worse than the reality, so addressing their concerns head on, putting it all in perspective and providing accurate information will help to minimize anxiety and distress