There can be no doubt that there is an increase in our children’s level of awareness of the increasing atrocities and humanitarian crises across the world.

Their exposure to emotionally challenging information happens in many different contexts. It might be an overheard adult conversation at the school gate, distressing images of explosions and refugees seen on TV screens, or the lunch break conversations of the tweens, talking about a nuclear attack on the UK.

Regardless of where this exposure may occur, children often don’t talk about what might be worrying them, instead, they might attempt to process information by themselves. In the absence of an adult to help them process this information, children often tend to imagine situations to be far worse than they are. Every child will process information differently. Below are some strategies for talking to children about the current situation that will help to ease their concerns.

  • Set some time aside and start the conversation
  • Explore what they have heard
  • Ask how this makes them feel and ask them what they might be worried about
  • Ask if they have any questions about the topic or how it may impact them
  • Help them to express and externalise their feelings. Younger children might want to draw a picture or play out their feelings with toys. Create a “Worry Monster – Google for full instructions
  • Provide them with information that is honest and factual, but always age appropriate
  • Use analogies from their frame of reference to explain things - “You know how sometimes you argue with…”
  • Acknowledge that their feelings of concern and anxiety are normal and valid – avoid repeating phrases like “don’t worry” or “don’t be silly.”
  • Reassure them that they are safe. Reassure them that there are lots of experts working really hard to resolve this
  • Reassure them that there are people helping those who are suffering. Give them ways to help too – collect food or clothing, write letters or draw pictures for younger children
  • Avoid stereotyping and hate speech
  • Keep family routines the same. Consistency and predictability helps to reduce anxiety
  • Manage your own anxiety and body language. If you are calm they will be calm


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If you need psychological support at this time please get in touch with us for more information about our psychology and well-being services. 

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