The war between Russia and Ukraine has prompted questions and concerns for everyone, including young children. For young children in times of unease, the strength of our calm presence and simple reassurances help to make the world a safe and manageable place.
When a child asks about war, try to answer with a question about what they specifically want to know, or keep your response simple. Below are additional resources and coping mechanisms you can use to talk with your child about conflict.
Bright Horizons resources:
- Children’s lives are marked by change. But what should you do when that change includes stressful situations, turbulent times, and tragic events? Watch this on-demand webinar to gain strategies to support your family: “What Happened to My World?” Helping Children Cope
- Learn what you can do to help children feel safe and secure when stress and trauma disrupt your child’s life in this podcast episode: Teach. Play. Love. Episode 36: What Happened to My World?
- Originally created in response to 9/11, and updated in 2020 in response to the pandemic, the “What Happened to My World?” book helps parents and caregivers understand how children process troubling world events and offers strategies to help children cope. For a specific section that references war, see pages 44-47.
- Through play, children work through a variety of issues that they find scary or frightening, such as bad dreams, violence, or current events. Learn more: Aggressive Play and Weapon Play: What It Means, Why Kids Do It, and How to Manage It
- This article reviews outlines stress busting activities to help your whole family – even your kids – manage the stress and anxiety of daily life: How to Cope with Stress: Stress Relief Strategies for the Whole Family
- Practicing mindfulness can alleviate that stress. Learn more in this on-demand webinar: Mindful Kids, Calmer Days
- WashU’s Mental Health Hub provides employees and their families support through a variety of platforms, including:
- How to Talk to Your Kids About the Crisis in Ukraine from Thrive Global explores ways to talk about the violence, reduce stress and uncertainty and provides engagement activities your family can do together to learn and support one another.
- How to Talk to Children about War: An Age-by-Age Guide is an article outlining how to explain war to children of all ages, including preschool – age 8.
- Harvard Graduate School of Education professors discuss what and how to tell children about war: What To Tell Children About War