You’ve heard urban legends about preschoolers reading The New York Times cover to cover, but your kids get their breaking news from the sandbox. (“Mom, ants can have millions of babies.”)
Strike a happy medium with recently launched kids’ news site Here There Everywhere. We asked founder Claudia Heitler, a former Today show producer and NYC mom, for tips on sparking interest in the wider world.
Treat it like story hour.
News is a form of storytelling — it’s just that what you’re telling them is true. Remember to include all the twists and turns. After all, you couldn’t make up some of it if you tried.
Take your time.
For adults, getting news in a timely way is a priority. But for young ones, that’s not necessary. It’s usually worth waiting a few days to be able to talk about the bigger picture.
Break it down.
The point isn’t for you to sound smart; it’s for your kids to understand. Think about the terms and concepts that will need explaining and figure out how to present the information at their level. Note: That’s not the same as dumbing it down; it’s making the world accessible to them.
Encourage questions and make connections.
After you tell them the facts, let them think it through. Then ask for their thoughts. You’ll be amazed at the depth of their reactions. It’s also helpful to establish sense of place. Where is the news happening in relation to them? Maps, globes, and Google Earth are great helpers.
Filter, edit, and omit.
There’s no shortage of off-limits stories (read: Congressman Anthony Weiner). Stick to those about discovery, adventure, and triumph. Telling your kids about what’s going on in the world shouldn’t invoke anxiety. It should instill a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Sort of like Elmo.
Learn more online at htekidsnews.com.
Murray’s Summer Story Hour
What: Enjoy books about farms, animals, and every child’s favorite food group — cheese.
Why: Free samples.
When: Wed., 3-4 p.m.
Where: Murray’s Cheese, 254 Bleecker St., b/t Sixth & Seventh Aves. (212-243-3289 ext. 28). Free.
Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert
What: Kindie rock pioneer Dan Zanes takes the stage in his own borough with an ensemble that includes the Brooklyn Youth Orchestra and dancers from Bed Stuy Veterans.
Why: Give us that good-time music.
When: Sat., 4 p.m.
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th St., at Prospect Park W. Suggested donation is $3.
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World
What: An exhibit covering the legend’s long career, showcasing original sketches, puppets, storyboards, and videos.
Why: Weekend screenings of his classics, including The Muppet Movie.
When: Exhibit, Tues.-Thurs., 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Screenings, Sat. & Sun., 1 p.m.
Where: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., at 37th St., Astoria (718-777-6888). Adults, $10; children, $5.
Photo: Plattform / Getty Images