Sharing 9/11 With Kids

It has been 19 years since the terrible attacks occurred on September 11th. I will never forget that day as I know many of you can relive the events and the impact it made on your life. I was 13 years old and remember being at school in my homeroom when word got out of the attacks that morning. I was scared, I was confused and I was sad. I didn’t understand what was happening or if there were going to be more attacks. Like many families during that day and the days following, our TV was turned on and we waited for answers and news of survivors.

As I look back on this historical event that occurred, I don’t want to forget it. It changed me, it made me aware of the hate and evil in this world and encouraged me to be my best every day. It broke my heart for the many lives lost and the families who had to continue on without their brother, sister, mother, father or grandparent. Friends, this is so important.

The pain of a broken heart can lead to good things.

A broken heart for others can lead you to be better, to be stronger, to be empathetic, to be more compassionate, to be giving and to be more aware of people other than yourself. It opens up your self-centered mind and lets the world around you come in. A broken heart can lead to hope for a better tomorrow and better world.

Teaching children about 9/11

I am no child physiologist but I do know that there are so many ways to screw up the development of your child. Parents are always second guessing their decision on how they reacted or didn’t react to a situation. It is a true struggle and I live in it as well. I want to raise intelligent, kind, well rounded children who will contribute to society. So, the question becomes, do you shield your child from the realities of the world or do you begin preparing them for life?

As I look at events like 9/11, I want my children to know about them. I want my children to know the realities of the world we live in and how they can help make it better. I want to teach my children empathy and compassion. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to create scared and traumatized children but I do want to use events such as 9/11 as learning moments for my child.

1.     Evaluate their age and comprehension levels

Obviously, your toddler is way too young to understand events such as this. As their parents, you know and can gauge the understanding level of your child. I truly believe it is different for every child. For me, my 5-year-old (soon to be 6) is old enough. 

2.     Share a child friendly video about 9/11

This video is a great resource for sharing the event with your children without leaving the horrific images of tv video footage from that day. Just be ready to talk about the video once it is over.

Video About 9/11

3.     Be ready to listen and talk

Be available to talk to your children after the video. They may ask questions and do your best to give them honest answers. I personally would leave out specifics about how people died. You know your child best so make a decision on how much you will share. This is such a good opportunity to teach compassion and empathy. 

4.     Highlight the good and emphasis hope

Make sure they know that thousands of people stood up in that time of crisis to help the families, help find survivors, etc. So much good came out of the heart break and that is what gives me hope for the future. United we stand! 

5.     Do something

I personally feel better about something if I can “do something” to help. Your child may also process best by engaging in an activity. Here are some ideas:

·         Write a thank you note to firefighters or police officers thanking them for always working to keep us safe.

·         Draw a picture of the towers with a flag and hang it on your fridge.

·         Make a fire truck 

·         Do a random act of kindness today in memory of the fallen.

These topics are always so hard to bring up but I think teaching children our history is the only way we can improve upon the present and make the world a better place.

*This blog is in memory of all who lost their lives on 9/11/01*

Writer Mom