When The News Is Scary: Talking to Kids about Invasion of Ukraine | Deborah Farmer Kris | 4 Min Read

Sometimes, when the news is unsettling, we don’t know how to start talking about it with our kids. Or we simply avoid talking about it at all.  

The day after Russia invaded Ukraine, I sat down with my 8-year-old and a globe and started a conversation. I shared that conversation with PBS SoCal in hopes that it would give other parents an entry point. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s an insight from Fred Rogers that touches all aspects of my parenting: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” 

Our job is to provide our kids with accurate, age-appropriate information—while reminding them that they are safe and they are loved. So how do we do that? 

Yesterday, my 8-year-old and I spent a chunk of time talking about the invasion of Ukraine. He understood more—contextually and empathetically—than I expected.

Here are a few things that helped:

1. A map: I pulled out the globe and asked…

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)