How To Explain The Westminster Attacks To Your Children

Co-authored by Di Stubbs, consultant at Winston’s Wish – the charity for bereaved children.

These are some of the questions that are being asked by parents, teachers and others caring for children who are affected by the media coverage of incidents like that in Westminster.

Winston’s Wish – the charity for bereaved children in the UK – have compiled a handy guide to be used to explain the incidents and to answer difficult questions children may have.

Things to remember

• Talk to children using words they understand; give information to younger children a bit at a time
• Try and encourage children to ask questions
• Answer questions honestly and simply; talking about it won’t make it worse
• Accept that some things can’t be ‘made better’
• Show willingness to talk about difficult things and use this as an opportunity to reassure them
• If children are asking questions, it is a good thing – it shows they trust you and it is better than keeping questions and worries to themselves
• Remember that ‘super parents’ or ‘super teachers’ don’t exist. Just do and say what you can
• Don’t be afraid to show children how you are feeling

How can we best explain this to our children?

Talk to children using words they understand and are appropriate for their age. It’s best to use honest, clear language if possible. It’s probably best to tell children information a bit at a time, giving them the opportunity to come back with more questions. Older children will want and be able to handle more information.

The explanation can be basic, especially for young children – something like:-
‘All this news is because something very bad and very sad happened in Westminster, London. What seems to have happened is that someone attacked other people near the Houses of Parliament; a policeman was killed in the incident. It is very unusual that something like this happens. This is one of the reasons why it is on the news and lots of people are talking about it; it is also because it is very upsetting that something like this could…

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