How To Talk To Your Little Kids About Hard Things

Life can be difficult, but knowing what to say to your child doesn’t have to be.

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Big ideas for how to talk to your kids about hard things by Emily P.G. Erickson
Big ideas for how to talk to your kids about hard things by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson
How to remember the big picture by Emily P.G. Erickson
How to remember the big picture by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson

Remember the big picture

Your primary goal should be to give your child a story that helps them make sense of their experience.

Give your child a story

Identify your goals

How to be easy to understand by Emily P.G. Erickson
How to be easy to understand by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson

Be easy to understand

Borrow your child’s words

Keep it concrete and specific

Draw on stories and analogies your child already knows

Tell your child what they will notice

How to help your kids feel safe by Emily P.G. Erickson
How to help your kids feel safe by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson

Help your child feel safe

Tell your child it’s not their fault (Hint: It’s probably no one’s fault)

Let your child know the grown-ups are in charge

“We can’t know what will happen, we can know that — whatever it is — we can handle it, together.”

Acknowledge uncertainty

How to listen generously by Emily P.G. Erickson
How to listen generously by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson

Listen generously

Acknowledge feelings

Ask open-ended questions

How to talk to your kids about hard things checklist by Emily P.G. Erickson
How to talk to your kids about hard things checklist by Emily P.G. Erickson
Image by the author, Emily P.G. Erickson

More resources for talking through hard times

Writer with a master’s degree in psychology. Helpful, science-backed writing about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood. www.emilypgerickson.com

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