Talking to children about war can seem a difficult topic to talk about. However, it helps them feel safer and more secure.

Here’s what psychologists recommend to help reduce a child’s stress:

Talk with your child

When children have questions, answer them honestly but simply and with reassurance. Ask them what they think is happening, and listen to their answers.

Make your home a safe place emotionally for your child

Spend lots of family time with your child, especially during a hard time. Spend more time with your child playing games, reading, or just holding your child close.

During a time of war, map out a routine and stick to it

Children are reassured by regular schedules. If homework is completed at a certain time, make sure you keep that time for homework. 

Tell children that they will be all right

Reassure them that they will be protected. Have an emergency plan for the family and share whatever parts of it you think your child can understand. 

Resilience is a unique journey for each child, much like how each child develops their reading and writing skills at their own pace. Some of these resilience strategies may benefit your child, while other children might find different strategies helpful.

Enlist your child’s help

Just because your children are young does not mean they cannot do age-appropriate chores, such as setting the table or cleaning their room. 

Limit the amount of news your child watches during a time of war

Turn off the TV or radio when war coverage is on. You don’t need to hide what’s happening in the world from your children, but neither do you have to expose them to constant stories about war.

Put things into a positive perspective for your child

Neither you nor your child may have been through a war before, but you should tell your child that wars end. 

Realize that the stresses of war may heighten daily stresses

Your children might normally be able to handle a failed test or teasing, but be understanding that they may respond with anger or bad behavior to stress that normally wouldn’t rattle them.

Make sure you take care of yourself

If you don’t, you may have less patience and less creativity at a time when your children need both to reassure them about their own safety. 

Watch your children for signs of fear and anxiety

They may be feeling the pressure of what is going on in the world around them, but may not be able to put it into words. Encourage them to write stories or draw pictures that show how they feel if they can’t put their feelings into words. 

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