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How to talk about 9/11—and other scary world events—with your kids

It’s fine to admit you were scared.

How to talk about 9/11—and other scary world events—with your kids

On the anniversary of September 11, 2001, minds all around the country—even world—go back to that day. We think of the families affected, share memories of where we were when we heard the news and think about how life has changed. For so many of us, it continues to define how we frame life's events: Everything before was pre-9/11. Everything since is post-9/11.


For others, different events or natural disasters may have similar effects on our lives. So, how do we begin to explain their significance to our children?

For pointers on navigating this tricky subject, we reached out to Carole Lieberman, M.D., author of Lions, Tigers and Terrorists, Oh My: How to Protect Your Child in a Time of Terrorism.

Get to the bottom of your feelings


First, you need to figure out how you really feel about the events. Depending on your age, you may have felt scared, mad or mostly sad—and it's perfectly fine to admit any of that, says Lieberman. You can then share how the consequences continue to affect life, while discussing the positive ways that people came together.

Also be reassuring. You may use phrases such as, "When I was afraid, my mom and dad were there for me. And I'll always be there for you."

Start the age-appropriate conversations early

"The sooner you have this talk, the better," Lieberman says, adding it's likely your child picked up some information from the media, other kids or overheard conversations. In the beginning, you can keep it simple. Just be sure your children know you are willing to talk about it and want to help clear up any confusion they may have.

To help guide the conversation, respond to the questions your children ask rather than talking about all of the details that may still be difficult for them to understand. Those discussions can happen another year.

Be honest

Lieberman says it's best to explain we can't guarantee an attack or natural disaster will never happen again. "Your child will know you are not telling the truth and it will be scarier that they can't trust you," she says. Then encourage your children to talk about how that makes them feel. If you notice it turns up anxiety in your children, Lieberman says you need to give them a safe space to work through all of that.

Above all, it's important to let children know you'll always work through frightening events as a family—and can come out even stronger on the other side. ❤️

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There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

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Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

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Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

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When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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