Explaining the London riots to your toddler

When riots dominated the capital this summer, it may have been baffling to your toddler. How do you explain to them what was happening?

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Riots dominated the news this summer, so even if your child wasn’t directly affected by them, he could have overheard conversations or seen images on TV. What do you say if your tot asks you about it? “A lot of parents are struggling to find a way to explain it,” says Crissy. “The natural parental instinct is to keep your child hidden from this disturbing reality.

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If you avoid questions, your child could end up inventing his own version of events, so you need to talk to him,” she adds. 

Talk about consequences 

The effects of the riots could be playing on your tot’s mind more than you think. “He may not say it directly but the situation could have caught his imagination. He may have seen the looting or noticed areas with shops boarded up and be worried about how you’ll buy things,” adds Crissy.

How do you explain it? “You’ve got to meet the child at his level,” explains Pat.
“When he’s naughty he knows there are consequences, so let him know the behaviour he’s seen will be punished. A child will have a very simple view – bad people were doing bad things and will be caught.”

Mum’s story

“I used the riots to teach my girl right from wrong”

“I allowed my 5 year old to watch the riots on TV so she could see that the devastation caused by youths was a bad thing. I’d regularly see the news when I was younger and my mother would talk me through it, teaching me right from wrong at an early age. I want to pass this on to Talia.”

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Alesha Kuchanny, 30, from Chichester, mum to Talia, 5

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