At this writing, we still don't know all the details . . . maybe never will. The TV constantly broadcasts about cries for help, blood, total chaos, flying limbs, terror, injuries, victims, and other unsettling news. So what's a parent to do?
First, depending upon your child's age and ability to absorb unsettling news, turn off the TV. Often we, as adults, want to stay informed but there is such a thing as too much input! If your home is a steady stream of negative TV news, you may overwhelm your child and create a stressful home environment. The truth is; it'll all come out in upcoming weeks; you can afford to turn off the TV news for a few days.
Second, if your child asks questions such as, "Are we in war?" it's your signal to be the teacher. Saying things as, "We're always in a war of good vs evil," will open opportunity to teach about life and your values. In our home The Golden Rule of doing to others as we'd want them to do to us, assisted my daughters in developing social and spiritual skills. Today both are in helping professions; one's a RN and the other is an English teacher. Follow up your comment with something like, "You can be the good person by . . ." and list ways to pray, feeling sorry over the suffering or others, or actions that may relieve the hurt or people. Even in the Boston bombing, there are stories of helping and goodness shown by fellow runners and individual crowd members.
Third, talk about practical ways to help now. Probably you can't do anything directly to help those injured and traumatized in Boston but, you can show kind help those close to you! Perhaps you and your child can visit a nursing home this weekend and talk to the lonely. You and your child can visit aging relatives, or the hospital's Pediatric Unit to talk to sick children (with staff or parent permission, of course). Homeless shelters or churches, that serve free meals, always need volunteer help. You and your child can make the good outweigh the evil in today's world.
Compassion is the art of understanding other people's suffering and doing selfless acts to help relieve the suffering. Ask your child, "How would you feel if . . . " to get him/her thinking. Then talk about what he or she would want in the way of assistance. Although the Boston bombing is an ugly, sad situation you can turn it into an educational opportunity in your home.
To keep your child involved over the long-haul, you can sponsor a disadvantaged child through Compassion International.