How to Talk to Kids about the Ukraine Invasion
Today’s news on Russia and Ukraine is disheartening. It’s understandable that many parents avoid talking to their kids about such topics because we don’t want to upset them. Or perhaps we don’t know where to start. But it is our job to give our kids accurate, age-appropriate information, while reminding them that they are safe and they are loved.
Mother and writer for PBS, Deborah Kris, shared advice on how you can start this conversation:
1. A map: Use a globe and asked your child to put their finger on Ukraine, Russia and the Black Sea. Touch other countries and talked a bit about the formation and breakup of the Soviet Union (just simple history/geography).
2. Discuss what a war is, and why they can happen. In this case, it is a “war of choice” by Russia’s leader who wanted “more.”
4. Explain what a refugees is: The book ”What Is a Refugee?” (Ages 3-7) by Elise Gravel is a great resource. You can also show a picture of Ukrainians in a train station, trying to leave, as an example.
5. Use family history, if relevant: ex. Did their great grandparents flee from a country before? That’s part of their family history and you can connect those dots.
Let your kids know that you’ll keep talking about this as it unfolds, and that they can ask questions at anytime. You might be surprised with just how much they understand contextually and empathetically.