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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Guiding young children through difficult times

adult and children hands in unity

The ongoing turmoil in reaction to the senseless death of George Floyd and the resulting national conversation regarding race and equity in our communities have brought with them a great deal of stress and difficult emotions for many in our state, including parents and caregivers.

At First Things First, we know that young children can be impacted by the difficulties the adults in their lives are dealing with, the conversations they may be hearing or the images they may be seeing. Children will look to their parents and caregivers for help in making sense of what is happening around them, and we know that can be challenging when we struggle to understand it ourselves. During these troubling times, we are sharing resources to help you guide and support the young children in your life.

Experts advise to begin by reassuring children that parents and other adults in their lives will keep them safe and immediately limit their exposure to violent images.

Once they feel comforted and secure, there are age-appropriate ways that parents and caregivers can talk to even very young children about tough issues like race and equity.

Here are resources from early childhood partners that can be helpful to families when they have those conversations with their young children:

Talking to Children about Racism: The Time is Now

American Academy of Pediatrics explains what parents can watch for in their children to know if they are struggling and how families can use this moment as a teaching moment.

Read more

Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged 2 to 5

ZERO TO THREE shares tips and guidelines for talking about race and equity and how to answer difficult questions that young children may ask.

Learn more

Supporting Children Who Have Faced Trauma

Child Care Aware offers guidance for children who have personally experienced trauma or have seen or heard something traumatic on television or in adult discussions.

Find resources

Helping Our Children Love Their Differences

PBS Kids for Parents features numerous resources, including an article on how to help young children learn empathy and celebrate diversity.

Read more

Offering Comfort in Stressful Times

Sesame Street has several short videos on comforting young children during stressful times, including one that can be shared with a young child after they have seen something scary.

Watch videos

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