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How to Help Anxious Kids when Bad Things Happen

I sometimes wish I could take my children and live in a bubble -- immune to the violence, hatred and tragedies our world experiences. But although living in a bubble is tempting, we would also miss out on the wonderful sounds, smells and laughter this world can bring. And such is life. As adults, we can usually put these tragedies into perspective -- but if you have an anxious child, this might be a major challenge.

There are children who already imagine all the what ifs life can bring them. What if I die? What if I get sick? What if we get in a car accident? Public tragedies can only add to the credibility of their fear. A global tragedy has the potential to derail an anxious child and magnify all their fears. So how do you help the child who already worries about diseases, kidnappings, school shootings and natural disasters? One small step at a time.


Depending on your child's age, they may or may not be aware of global events. If your child is very young, they may not have exposure to the news. If you have a very young child who is already suffering from acute anxiety, I would not recommend discussing these global events unless they become aware of it. Those young children who are not old enough to be in school may not encounter the news, and unless we bring it to their attention, it could remain off their radar. These young children who already worry, sleep in our beds and live in our shadows throughout the day do not have the coping mechanisms to process a tragedy on a global scale. For older, school-aged children, we cannot cocoon them from such events. For these children, I suggest:

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To finish reading about the different approaches to reassuring safety, visit the Huffington Post: Parents website:

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