September 13th, 2012 11:52am

How to tell children about 9/11


Every afternoon, as I walk my 6-year-old daughter to our car after picking her up from school, I make a point to ask her about her day.  Monday afternoon was no exception, but her response was a bit more emphatic than the typical one-word responses I so often get from her.

“I learned about a new holiday!” she told me.

“Really? What holiday is that?” I asked her, having completely forgotten that another year had passed since the horrible tragedy that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

“It’s Sept. 11!” she reminded me.

My sweet, sheltered little girl, who is slowly becoming aware of the cruelty that exists in our world, then went on to tell me about the mean group of people from the Middle East who stole planes and drove them into two tall buildings in New York. She also told me about the pictures she saw of people who looked like they were “skydiving out of the buildings.”

I had talked to my daughter before about Sept. 11, but I was now fully aware that the events that took place 11 years ago were really sinking in. I took the opportunity to talk to my daughter about how people are different. We act different, look different, talk different and have different beliefs. I told her that the group of people from the Middle East didn’t like Americans, and that they wanted to hurt us. But I also reminded her that it’s ok for people to be different, and that we shouldn’t hurt others just because they are different than us.

My still-so-innocent daughter nodded in agreement, and the conversation about Sept. 11 was over just as quickly as it began. Later that night, around the dinner table, we talked again about Sept. 11. We will always remember the mothers, fathers and children that would never return home and the brave firefighters who risked – and even lost – their lives to help those in need.

“Is there a new building in that spot now?” my daughter asked me.

“There sure is,” I said. “And it’s even taller!”

Have you talked to your child about Sept. 11? How do you teach your child about the events that took place on Sept. 11 without instilling fear in their little minds?



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