Mar 14, 2011 - Culture, Learning, Life, Parenting, School    6 Comments

Japan: How young is too young?

As I watch and read and read and read about the devastation, first of the earthquake in Japan, and then the tsunami, and the current nuclear reactor scares, I keep wondering if we should mention it to Georgia.

The likelihood of her ever finding out herself, at home, is somewhat, highly improbable, given that we do not watch live TV (news), or listen to the radio. If she does learn of it, it is most likely through school.

A (probably crazy academic!) part of me, sees so many ‘lessons’, geography (earthquakes, tsunamis), social studies (charity, sharing etc), history (as it unfolds!) and yet, deep down, I really don’t want to scare or worry a five-year-old needlessly.

How young is too young to be told of such events?

© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.


  • There was never really a time when any of this was kept from us. But then, it could be that there were always hurricanes that we heard about. They never hit us but we had to be on hurricane watch so my mother would tell us why she was collecting the candles. I think only you know what your daughter is ready to think about.

    • Hi Circus Queen, thanks for sharing! This was precisely what prompted my thoughts -the fact that young children were exposed and experiencing this, out of necessity by way of geographical location.

  • I absolutely adore geology, so I can’t resist talking about the earthquakes and resulting tsunamis and the like. I would most likely really tone down the human suffering, but not hide it altogether. If we lived in earthquake country (I’m from California!) I would feel like they needed to be more aware of the risks, but since we are inland and also not in earthquake country, it feels kind of gratuitous to get too much into details of death and destruction at that age (unless they find out from someone else and ask me questions, then I’ll answer honestly.)

    As for the nuclear reactors, I had many nightmares as a child of nuclear destruction, so I hesitate to get into that with young children. But that might be overly ostrich of me.

    • It’s hard to imagine you in an ostrich position not that i’m trying too! 😛
      I think I might mention it, actually. She is aware of what tsunamis are, although it was all very sugar-coated in Ponyo, which she absolutely adores.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Very much appreciated.

  • Another reason not to have the tele on, in my book. The older two know that something serious has happened, and they did see a bit of the news when Christchurch happened. We try and keep all the human impact to a minimum at this stage, there is no need for them to know too much. We did go through the who would pick them up if at kindy/school and what to do if an earthquake hit at home, again. But that was it.

    • What an honest practical approach! It must bring things so close to home with all that is happening.
      Lovely to hear from you again, I’m glad you found me. 🙂

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