How to Talk to Children about War in Ukraine

Communication & Cooperation March 23, 2022

Our world has a violent war happening at this very moment. Russia is aggressively invading Ukraine. This is the subject of every news source worldwide and is the topic of conversations everywhere. Certainly, your child is asking about this war. How does one talk to their child about such a dreadful global event?

Christopher Morrison, fifth through eighth social studies teacher at Brighton Adventist Academy (BAA), explains how he handles the war in his class. “I ask them, ‘What do you know about this already?  What questions do you have about this?’ I will take opportunities to input balance into the conversations, and encourage my students to think about the subject critically.

Morrison explains that at the middle school level and above, it is essential to urge students to evaluate and analyze information, to discuss point of view, and how to identify propaganda.

“It is apparent that each student gleans a great amount of information outside the classroom about this war. Historically, this is the most public war that has taken place because of social media. My students only need to click, and a large collection of first-hand account videos is at their fingertips. This can create questions for kids, so it is important for adults to address it,” Morrison said.

Here are five tips to talk to children about war:

  1. Explain the war using kid-friendly words. During the conversation, use a map, and as a bonus, watch a time lapse video on the map of Russia and the map of Ukraine. Most likely, you recall the day in 1991 when Ukraine became independent; your first-hand account of the celebration of that historic event is priceless. Children want answers, and they want information. Let them see that you are a great source for answers.
  2. Maintain an open and honest channel of communication with kids. Listen, invite questions, and ask them how they are feeling about this war. Acknowledge their emotions or worries. If a child needs an outlet for their fears, remind them to also draw, sketch, journal, and play outdoors. Family time is a vital and crucial activity during this worrisome season.
  3. Be intentional about screening and limiting media information when children are near. Value educational and informative reports.
  4. Assure children that just as you always use seat belts and helmets, you have a household emergency plan should anything happen. Remind children that their parents as responsible adults are prepared to care for their family; therefore, they can rest assured that safety, health, and happiness are a priority.
  5. Turn to your strong faith in God’s care and protection. Witness your firm belief that, assuredly, God will care for His people. Invite them to share their favorite Bible promise of God’s deliverance and spend time daily in prayer for Ukraine and Russia. Finally, point to the soon return of Christ when we shall be face to face with our Creator, and when the sadness and wars and strife of this world will end.

“Kids will ask if World War III is a possibility, but I turn to the fact that we know God is coming to save His people. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars, but God’s got it. The world is in His hands. Acts 1:11 promises us, ‘This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Remember, we are alive in Christ,” said Morrison.

*Original article published on rmcsda.org

Author

Jodie has served as a Seventh-day Adventist educator for thirty years and is currently the head teacher of Brighton Adventist Academy, a pre-K-10 campus. Jodie lives in Colorado and enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and two children.

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