We’re all glued to the news as we watch Russia invade Ukraine and if you have kids, they’re watching it too. Since the footage can sometimes include violent and upsetting images, experts urge parents to help their kids make sense of what they’re seeing. Pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker shares her advice for talking to kids about war and tragic events.
- Consider the age of the child - If they’re under seven or eight, Dr. Meeker suggests not saying anything unless they ask. She explains that kids that young “can’t process issues that are this complex” and may worry that mom or dad might die.
- Keep dialogue simple - Kids between eight and 11ish may hear about the news at school, so it’s something you’ll want to address with them, but in terms they’ll understand. That means not overspeaking or giving them more information than they can handle. Start with stating who is fighting whom and a basic explanation of why and reassure them that the war will not come here.
- Only keep TV news on for a short time - “When kids see war scenes or hear about war repeatedly, they are traumatized,” Dr. Meeker explains. She adds that watching it on TV can magnify the situation in their minds. Talk to tweens and teens about what they’re seeing and reassure them that for now, this war will not affect them. If it does later, she says you’ll deal with it then.
- Avoid political discussion - This is because they’ll go to school and repeat whatever you say about the events in Europe, President Biden and Putin and Dr. Meeker points out this will “cause division no matter how old they are.”
- Keep kids calm - This expert urges that this is the time to keep children calm and to “reassure them that everything will be okay for them and their families.”
Source: NY Post