What to tell kids about War
and How to Cope

Save the Children Organization Suggests

Listen carefully. Have a dialogue to help them gain a basic understanding that is age-appropriate.

Reassurance and psychological first-aid. Assure them about all that is being done to protect them and their family.

Consider professional help. For children directly affected by a tragic event, parents should consult their doctor and consider counseling, not just for the child, but also for the entire family.

Watch for changes. Be alert to any significant changes in sleeping patterns, eating habits or concentration, or wide emotional swings or frequent physical complaints without apparent illness.

Expect the unexpected. Not every child experiences events in the same way. Older teenagers, because of their greater capacity for understanding, may be harder hit, and while they may be close to adulthood, they still need extra love, understanding and support.

Turn off the TV. Watching television reports on disasters may overwhelm young children. They may not understand that the tape of an event is being replayed, and instead think the disaster is happening over and over again.

Give more time. Children need your close, personal involvement to comprehend that they are safe and secure.

Be a model. Your child will learn how to deal with these events by seeing how you deal with them. Explain your feelings, views and emotions, but do so calmly. Don't pass on your anger and fears.

Watch your own behavior. Be careful to avoid racial stereotyping, slurs or expressions of hatred against groups of people. This is also an opportunity to teach your children that it is wrong to hate an entire group of people for the acts of a few.

Resume normal activities. Children almost always benefit from activity, goal orientation and sociability.

Encourage volunteer work. Helping others can give your child a sense of control, security and empathy.

See http://www.savethechildren.org/

B. Dr. Toy Suggests Ways to Handle War and Stress for Children

See drtoy.com's Main Page



When young children see and hear about the war they can become confused or frightened, or just interested in figuring out the meaning of what they saw. They often then try to bring this content into their PLAY where they can work out ideas and feelings. Here are guidelines to help you respond effectively when such play occurs.

WEB SITES with Materials to Help Educators & Parents Help Children Deal with War and Violence:

[1] Adapted from: Teaching Young Children in Violent Times: Building a Peaceable Classroom (2nd Edition) by Diane E. Levin (Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility, in press).

Contact: D. Levin at Wheelock College, Boston, MA (617-879-2167; ).

Main Page

Home Copyright Arrow Up