Talking to Children About Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is on a lot of people’s minds – adults and children alike. It can be tough to know how to talk to children about what’s going on, especially if they have a lot of big emotions. We’re here to support you with some child-appropriate ways to answer questions, address fears and concerns.

Reassure and be honest

It’s important to reassure children that they are safe and you are there for them. You also need to be honest with them, answering their questions as honestly as possible. If you don’t know the answer, tell them that and promise to find out. This helps build trust.

Keep up to date

Make sure you are up to date with the latest information so you can answer any questions children may have. This also helps model to children how to find reliable sources of information.

Encourage questions

Encourage children to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings. This will help them feel supported and understood. It also gives you a chance to understand what they’re thinking and feeling.

Don’t shy away from tough topics

Tough topics like war or violence can be difficult for kids to process. But it’s important that we don’t shy away from them. Talking about these things in an open, honest way can help children feel more in control and understand what’s happening.

Educate yourself to educate children

The more you know about what’s happening in Ukraine, the better equipped you’ll be to talk to children about it. There is a lot of information out there, but try to find sources that are reliable and age-appropriate.

Bridging connections with Ukraine’s children

Encourage children to identify with, connect to, and sympathise with what children in areas of conflict are going through. Here are some excellent books to read that will provide insight into what children in other regions of the world go through during times of war and upheaval:

“The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story,” by Thao Lam

Ages: 6-10

“The Little War Cat” by Hiba Noor Khan

Ages: 4-5

“Boy, Everywhere” by A. M. Dassu

Ages: 9-11

“On the Move: Poems About Migration” by Michael Rosen

Ages: 9-12

“Wisp: A Story of Hope” by Zana Fraillon and Grahame Baker Smith

Ages: 6-8

“I’ll Keep You Close,” by Jeska Verstegen

Ages: 8-10

“Wishes” by Mượn Thị Văn

Ages: 4-5

“Maurice and His Dictionary: A True Story,” by Cary Fagan

Ages: 8-12

“Stealing Home,” by J. Torres, David Namisato

Ages: 9-12

“Village of Scoundrels,” by Margi Preus

Ages: 10-12

 

 

“Coming to England” by Floella Benjamin

Ages: 9-11

“My name is not Refugee” by Kate Milner

Ages: 4-8

“Do Something for Someone Else” by Loll Kirby

Ages: 6-8

 

Let children get involved

Like adults, children are probably feeling quite overwhelmed and helpless when seeing the devastation going on in Ukraine.

Some great ways children could get involved are:

  • writing letters to children in Ukraine
  • donating old clothes and toys
  • support organisations to help families

Here are some great places to donate directly to those children:

Unicef 

Save The Children 

Christian Aid

British Red Cross

 

As with most situations like this, the best way forward is through talk. Ensuring children feel comfortable to discuss any anxieties they may have will prevent them from feeling overly concerned or anxious.

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