Discussing Big Topics with Children
Talking to children about big topics is challenging, especially when difficult subjects like violence are brought up in response to current events and tragedies. At Bay Area Discovery Museum, we want to share our resources to support our community of parents, caregivers and educators in navigating these topics with their children.
The resources below are meant to empower you to have an open dialogue with your children, answer questions about what they are seeing in the world today and participate in changes that will lead to a more equitable and just world for all.
LGBTQ+ Community and Gender Identity:
- NPR: Why All Parents Should Talk with Their Kids about Social Identity
- Planned Parenthood: What Should I Teach my Elementary School Aged Child about Identity?
- San Francisco Public Library: LGBTQ+ Pride for Young Readers
Tips for Adults:
Monitor your child’s play, behavior and questions to understand what might be on their minds and how they are feeling.
If your child indicates they have overheard or seen something related to the tragedy or news, ask them questions. This gives you the opportunity to meet them where they are and allows their understanding to guide the conversation.
Don't Avoid the Topic
Research demonstrates that giving children clear, developmentally appropriate information about challenging topics, instead of avoiding them calms their anxiety. A willingness to share openly provides understanding and reassurance, rather than leaving it to their imagination.
Remind your child that the adults in their life are protecting them.
Let your child know they can always come to you with questions. It’s okay to not have all the answers and say, “I wonder about that, too” or “I’m not sure, I’ll let you know what I learn.”
- What to say to kids when the news is scary
- Explaining the News to Our Kids
- What is Violence? A Sesame Street video for children ages 4 – 6 and their caregivers.
- The Way I Feel by Janan Cain (available in Spanish, Chinese, French, and Arabic)
- Once I Was Very Very Scared by Chandra Ghosh Ippen (available in Spanish)
- The Color Monster: A pop-up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas (available in Spanish)
Race and Racial Identity
- Zero to Three: Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five
- CNN and Sesame Street: Racism Town Hall
- Newark Public Library: Black Lives Matter Instructional Library
- Common Sense Media: Explaining the News to our Kids
- The Anti-Defamation League: List of books for talking to kids about identity, diversity, bias and social justice
- The Oakland Public Library’s list: Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice: a list for parents, caregivers & educators
Supporting the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community:
Communicating About COVID-19
Wednesday - Sunday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Member Hour: 9 – 10 a.m.
Closed Monday – Tuesday
We will be open on Indigenous Peoples' Day, Monday, October 10.