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Ukraine: easing your child's worries

Many people will have been shocked to see the conflict escalating in Eastern Europe recently. The news coverage and reports of the human impacts of the military action are really worrying. 

You may find children and young people in your family have difficulty processing the news and have questions. 

Young people with access to social media are already sharing content, some of which may be inaccurate, or distressing. 

Here are some tips to help your child if they are worrying about the war: 

  • Reassure your child that the world has been in situations like this before and it has been resolved.
  • Use a map to show them how far away the conflict actually is.
  • If your child is under seven, sooth them and distract them with the comfort of their everyday routine.
  • For an older child, don’t avoid the conversation; be honest with them but keep to basic facts.
  • Getting an older child to help with a local charity can make them feel positive and empowered in doing something to help.

There are lots more tips in these articles from Metro News and Save the Children about comforting your child about conflict. 

If your child appears to be feeling more stressed or anxious than usual after seeing news and social media about the war, here are some tips to help you manage this with them:

  1. Encourage them to limit their time on social media and news sites, and limit the amount of news you expose them to on the television
  2. Encourage them to do nice things that they enjoy, to help them relax and unwind
  3. Focus on talking about the positive things in life
  4. Try and get them to talk to you about how they are feeling
  5. Explain to them that not everything they read is true

If you’re feeling stressed and worried too, use these tips to help yourself. Your children also will be sensitive to your reactions, so it’s good to try and manage them. Read the article from Ditch the Label for the tips in full, with practical advice.

Further resources

This BBC Newsround article has been written for young people to help them if they feel upset by the news.

The IFCR has some excellent practical advice about talking to children about war.

These flashcards have been created to help parents and caregivers and come in Russian, English and Ukranian

If you know a child that has experienced conflict and displacement, this illustrated book may be helpful.

If you are particularly concerned about your child, do seek advice and support. You can find more information on our Mental and Emotional Health pages.