‘Stories give you a window to talk about concepts and values’

September 29, 2020
An image of a newspaper and the PBS NewsHour homepage.

Between the pandemic, the presidential election, and climate disasters around the country, parents are trying to figure out when they should show their children the news, and when they should try to hide it.

For a recent edition of The Parent Scoop podcast, Penn GSE’s Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher asked Amna Nawaz, a Senior National Correspondent and the primary substitute anchor for PBS NewsHour, how she has introduced the news to her 4-and 6-year-old daughters. 

“At this stage, it’s more about concepts and values than it is specific news stories, but those specific stories give you a window to talk about those concepts and values,” Nawaz said.

This summer, Nawaz’s older daughter saw a newspaper story about Black Lives Matter protests.

“My older daughter asked, ‘what is a protest?’ ” Nawaz said. “We talked about what a protest is. She asked, ‘what are these people protesting?’ Then we started talking about what people were in the streets about.

“If you let their questions guide how far they are willing to process it and where their curiosity begins and ends, you can actually get a lot farther than as a parent, I was expecting to go. She was ready to talk about discrimination and the history of racism in this country. And we got there because she just kept asking questions and we kept answering as openly and honestly as we could. So now that door is open for us.”

Ghaffar-Kucher and Nawaz also discussed finding trustworthy news sources, maintaining a healthy diet of news, and work-life balance.  

You can listen to the full episode here.

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