Chapter 3: Explaining tragic world events

Will it happen to me?

Children may not recognize the names of countries and cities where crimes or other tragedies have taken place. They might worry that the event has happened close to home and they too will be harmed.

  • Reassure them you'll do everything possible to keep them safe.
  • At the same time, be honest about the risks that are part of our lives and the communities we live in.
    • Some people, for example, may be at greater risk of violence because they belong to a group that is sometimes discriminated against (such as LGBTQ or an ethnic minority), or because of their community or geographic location (such as a country in the midst of a civil war). 

Feeling safe at home

Many people are uncertain what to say about shocking and targeted crimes, or tragic forms of death. As a result, it’s extremely important that children have:

  • Places where they feel safe to talk about events that concern them.
  • People they feel safe talking with about these events.

Health, stability and routine are always important, and even more so in times of turbulence. You can provide these through consistent daily routines and touchpoints such as:

  • Shared family meals.
  • Screen/device-free time.
  • Bedtimes that allow:
    • Enough sleep.
    • Daily chances to talk with your children about their day, their thoughts and feelings.


Teaching safety

Children feel more confident when they’re taught skills to help keep themselves safe and to identify other people who will help to protect them. This includes home and street smarts, self-defence, how to ask for help and problem-solving skills. When your children have these skills, you will also feel more at ease.