On January 6th, 2021, a group of Trump supporters led an insurrection and entered the Capitol building, destroying and stealing property and with the intention of causing harm to VP Pence, and other elected officials as well as impeding the certification of Joe Biden’s democratically won and 100 percent legitimate win to be our country’s next President.
January 6th started out in such a great way for many of us, with the results of Georgia’s run off election. We were so hopeful with the announcement of the wins of Rev. Warnock and Mr. Ossoff, who beat two Republican incumbents in the runoff race for the Senate and will give Democrats 50 seats in the Senate, with VP Harris as the tie breaking vote.
Our joy turned gray and deadly as the afternoon progressed and so many of us stared with bewilderment as we saw mobs of people, mostly white people, running up the stairs and breaking windows in one of our most sacred buildings in our nation’s capital. These mobs of white people attacking and pillaging our nation’s sacred lawmaking building forced members of Congress and staffers to run and barricade themselves in their offices, under desks, fearing for their lives.
Almost a week later, we are still processing and naturally so, as parents, we also have to talk about this with our kids. How do we talk about the state of our country with our kids? How do we make them feel safe? How do we explain the blatant racial injustice and difference in treatment when we compare how Black and brown communities are treated when protesting versus how this white mob was treated?
Before I share a list of tips and resources on talking to our kids about January 6th’s insurrection, here are my personal tips as a parent when you’re having the discussion:
- Let’s limit the images and news in our home, especially for our youngest kids. Our youngest kids (5 and under in my opinion) don’t need to be seeing these images.
- Our kids may not be talking about it, but they might have questions. Let them lead with questions.
- Children might have big feelings they don’t know how to process. Be honest, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, let them know you are as well. This will give you a chance to connect.
- Talk to them openly, but in an age appropriate way. You aren’t going to say the same thing to your nine year old that you say to your 15 year old.
- Don’t be afraid to say, you don’t know.
- Google is your best friend! Maybe your child is asking you a specific question – “what’s the difference between a riot and a protest?” “What is an insurrection?” and you don’t know the specific answer– Luckily, Google is there to help you! Don’t be afraid to look to other parents and experts for support and information.
- Reassure them that you will do your best to keep them safe.
View this post on Instagram
Featured Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash
Talking to Our Kids About January 6th’s Insurrection
We wanted to compile a list of resources on how to talk to our kids about the insurrection on January 6th. This list will be updated periodically.
TIPS ON HOW TO HAVE THE DISCUSSION:
After deadly US Capitol breach, 5 tips to talk to kids and ease their anxiety: Good Morning America’s segment has great tips with experts on how to ease our children’s anxiety.
What I loved: The experts remind us to validate our children’s feelings, and that we can use this moment as a learning opportunity.
This article from KXLY in Spokane has great tips on how to talk to our kids, I love this one:
Let children know there are people helping keep the community safe. It’s a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help.
Kentucky Education has great tips in this blog post. I love this about being age appropriate:
Younger children may be much more interested in the emotions and actions of the individuals they may have seen on television or the news. Middle school students may be more interested in elements of process or fairness. High school students may want to explore concepts such as equity and privilege.
How To Talk To Kids About The Riots At The U.S. Capitol – This is a short piece on NPR explains how a teacher talked to his students in NYC about the events.
WHERE TO FIND FACTS AND INFORMATION IN AN AGE APPROPRIATE WAY:
Chaos at the Capitol: Here is a great very factual and kid-friendly article reporting the events of Jan. 6th by TIME FOR KIDS.
PBS has amazing resources with a lot of great information: Insurrection at the US Capitol
It is important to talk to our kids about the fundamental institutions in our government that are being challenged. We must talk about what free and fair elections are, what democracy is, how our electoral system works. All this is quite complicated– even for adults! Don’t be afraid, to say “I don’t know, let’s look it up.”
For older kids, we can use this as an opportunity to teach them about our democracy and how our government is supposed to work. Here is a great resource on foundations of democracy and government on Share My Lesson.
How to Process a Scary Day for the Nation with your Kids: I absolutely loved this short article and audio interview on LA IST about how to process a scary day with our kids.
If you’d like to share your resources, anything that has helped you talk to your kids about the events of Jan. 6th, please email us at: info (at) parentingandpoliticspodcast (dot) com