How to Talk to Kids: Media and Stress

What Your Children Understand About the News

Babies and toddlers should never be exposed to disturbing news programs. Even though a baby does not understand the spoken words, they still react to the visual and audio stimulation. They will also pick up on your feelings and responses to the news, and react according to your emotional state.

Signs of Stress

If your child senses that you are upset by the news, they may become upset. You’ll notice them get fussier, have long bouts of crying, and even resist comforting from you. This can also result in a loss or increase in appetite, as well as regression in other developmental milestones (toilet training, etc).

Media Recommendations

Never expose children under the age of 2 to TV news or violent/shocking TV programming or Movies. They may not understand the content, but they are aware of your actions, and it can be damaging to them. Loud noises (gun shots), flashes of light, angry voices or any angry-looking people on TV can startle or scare toddlers.

Calming Strategies

Remember to try and use soothing tones when you talk, and give more cuddling and hugs. Remember to be patient if your child shows changes in patterns of eating, sleeping or toileting.