How to talk with children about the war in Ukraine


(CNN) – The images are scary for anyone, but the war in Ukraine may cause worry and even fear in small children who see or hear about the war.

Pediatric psychologist Vanessa Jensen says when talking to kids about it, keep it straightforward.

”It’s far away, and that’s something that grownups do. Let the grownups take care of this right now. We get to take care of you, and then we’ll make sure the adults take care of that,” Jensen said as an example of what adults can say to children.

She said sometimes, you just need to “simplify it.”

Jensen said that kids of any age can be bothered by what they are seeing and that the images can show up in nightmares and night terrors, so it is a good idea to monitor what children see.

If a child has seen something upsetting, Jensen said it is important to ask lots of questions to gauge what they know and how they feel.

“Help them normalize those thoughts. It’s OK to feel kind of scared that this is happening in our world,” she said.

If a child is feeling unsafe, Jensen says it might help to show them Ukraine on a map so they see the fighting is far away.

No matter the child’s age, all children need extra support and reassurance from their parents right now.

Jensen said sometimes doing something helps lessen a child’s anxiety.

She suggested making a card for someone in the military, praying for the safety of people in Ukraine, or sending warm thoughts and wishing them well.

One thought on “How to talk with children about the war in Ukraine

  1. That’s something that grown-ups do?!!! I’m gonna tell my kids that?!! Give them the idea that it’s just a normal thing people do when they grow up?!!

    And what I’d tell a four year old isn’t the same as what I’d tell a 14 year old. But for any age it would boil down to something like this:

    “There are some very bad people in the world. They want to own everything and not let people live free. They lie and cheat and are stealing from many people and they even kill to get what they want. Those of us who love you will do everything possible to keep you safe and we are working to put an end to what the bad guys are doing”


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