How to Talk to Kids About Ukraine and Russia

It's a scary time right now in our world.  Seems like we are on pins and needles with the current situation in Ukraine.

This has taken me all the way back to my childhood, when we were in the Cold War.  I was afraid that Russia was going to destroy our country with nuclear weapons.

Fast forward to the current war being fought between Ukraine and Russia.  Kids (and parents) are feeling nervous about what is happening. 

I'm sure many parents are wondering about when and what they should share with their children.  Here are some steps you can share with them during this time. 

Acknowledge that something is happening between Ukraine and Russia. 

Ask them what they have heard.  Let them take the lead.

Acknowledge that kids are wondering if they are safe.  
What if they ask if you are worried as their parent?  Be honest with them if you are worried. But you can bring comfort by saying, "Yes.  I am worried.  But as a family, we can manage this together.  We will get through this.  God is with us.  He knows what we are feeling.
Realize that kids are internally asking how this will affect their everyday life? 

Don't expose children to non-stop television coverage.

Be age-appropriate.  Younger children don't need to know all the details.  Avoid scaring or upsetting them.

Listen to your child.  If they want to talk, be prepared to listen to them.  Find out what is worrying them. 

Answer their questions calmly and accurately.  And if you don't know the answer to a question, be honest. Say "I don't know, but I will find the answer for you."

Watch for signs of anxiety.  Trouble sleeping.  Change in eating habits.  Irritability.  Stomach aches.

Keep things as "normal" as possible.  In times like this, children need security.  Keep your routines, schedules and activities as usual.

What if they are worried about the families who live in Ukraine?  Find some practical ways they can help.  It might be giving to a charity that is involved.  It might be praying for the children of Ukraine.  When kids are given the opportunity to help, it will bring them a measure of comfort.

Hold them close.  They need some extra TLC during this time.
One of the best things you can do for children during this time is to help them feel secure.
Spend time praying for them and with them.  Inner security comes when we cast our burdens, anxiety and fears upon Jesus.  He is a present help in times of trouble.  Nothing catches Him by surprise. He is with the kids and parents you minster to.  Encourage them to lean upon Him during these troublesome times.