When no news is good news

Our Little Bear was asking her Daddy what he was watching on the ipad.  He was watching the news and said, “It’s not really for children, let’s watch something else.”

And she did.

She watched a sugar-coated episode of Sofia the First.

But it got me to thinking abut child-friendly news.  I enjoyed watching programmes like Newsround when I was younger.  For the benefit of the International readers and the younger (!) readers, this was a great programme presented by John Craven in a very simplistic way that made it very easy to understand and digest.  Our Dad used to like watching it with us too.  I think it took the jargon out for adults too!

This was on at 5pm or thereabouts – always just before we had our tea.  I loved it.  Granted, I was a fair bit older than Our Little Bear, who is currently 5.

Yes, the news is usually full of depressing stuff BUT it’s important to keep astride of world events, I think.  Even from a fairly young age.

But what are the best ways of introducing a young child to the news, without tainting their innocence?

Any suggestions?

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8 comments to “When no news is good news”
  1. Ohh!! I remember Newsround!! 🙂

    Unfortunately one of my earliest memories is of watching the news and seeing JCB’s digging up bodies from a mass grave..I think I was about 3 at the time. 🙁 My Dad would watch the news morning, noon and night, so it was kind of overkill, and it fed his negative mindset.

    I don’t really know how I’d approach this topic with a child of my own, maybe there’s some good news websites out there for kids though? xx

    • I think you’re spot on there Chrissy, and that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make in my post – that there’s so much negativity that naturally comes over in the news. As much as I’d love to protect our little bear from it, we’re really doing her no favours by cocooning her… And yes, that’s why I loved Newsround so mucgh – it was factual but not over the top! Perhaps encouraging our children to always see the positive in something would be a good starting block.

  2. It’s a tough one, like Chrissy, some of my earliest memories are of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster and miner’s strikes in the 80s and I found them quite distressing. Having said that, I also loved Newsround, possibly more so when I was about 7+. I remember watching the Challenger Shuttle exploding on Newsround, so they obviously didn’t shy away from presenting the truth to a certain degree. My Dad was quite politically engaged, he was a Trade Union rep & member of Labour party so being aware of politics on the news was something that was always present in our lives. In fact my 5yo daughter was asking about the general election & we had a discussion about it. She’s only 5, but she understood that adults get the chance to choose who leads our country. But I don’t particularly like her watching the news if there’s a story about a murder or a natural disaster. I don’t want to cocoon her & I want her to be engaged with the wider world, but she’s still too young to comprehend alot of it. #brilliantblogposts

    • Wow yes, I remember those events very well. In fact, now you mention it, I can replay an image Challenger exploding… I hadn’t realised that I could until you mentioned all these years ago. It’s stored in my memory forever, it seems. Incredible and quite frightening in equal measures that that’s the case. We happened to be doing some ‘London’ homework when an electiom canvasser knocked on our door the other week. Our little bear asked me who the man was and I explained as simply as possible all about parliament and votes etc. It was quite handy because we’d just made a model of Big Ben 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, it makes me more determined to find a child-friendly news website or something.

  3. When I was younger my father would bring back issues of Time Magazine from his work. Its expensive in my country. Its the way I learned reading and writing English. I remember reading on how soldiers were interrogated in the Kuwait war. Not for some kid like me then but I learned how cruel war is. My son is 5 and I really dont know how to introduce the news to him. The only thing that we watched in the news channel for now is the weather. I think that is a great start. #pocolo

    • It really is such a hard thing to approach isn’t it? The weather is a good way of introducing our little ones. We listen to the news every morning on the school run and at breakfast and I know that Our Little Bear takes things in because she asks questions… even if it’s only about where the roads are on the travel news afterwards!

  4. Newsround is still going (!) and we encourage the Tubblet to watch it and talk about what she sees. It’s hard to judge though as stories which would be fine for one child wouldn’t be suitable for another #pocolo

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