WMU News

In times of turmoil, children need normalcy

March 18, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- As media organizations gear up for exhaustive coverage of the war in Iraq, parents should limit the kind of exposure children have to images of violence and war and strive to preserve youngsters' routines.

"It's very important for parents to be sensitive to that," says Dr. Ariel Anderson, a Western Michigan University professor of teaching, learning and leadership. "If they are going to be exposed to these images, adults should be with them and be ready to explain to children what they are seeing. They will need reassurance about their own safety and security and, as adults, we have to give them as much as we can offer."

Anderson, also an expert on early childhood education, says adults should be aware of conversations children might overhear, and should do what they can to "provide and maintain a sense of normalcy in children's lives." And while it's okay for adults to share--to some extent--their own anxieties, they also must be prepared to comfort youngsters. "We have to assure them that we'll do what we can to protect them," says Anderson.

Media representatives may contact Anderson for comment at (269) 387-3493, (269) 345-0151, or <ariel.anderson@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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