Keep dialogue simple.
How to support the people in Ukraine.
As Russia invades Ukraine and American parents and families watch the details play out on television, now is the time to “keep kids calm,” advised Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician, author and creator of the Parenting Great Kids series.
“I’ve had to talk with kids of all ages (or coach parents) about war or national tragedies.
In the interest of trying to be helpful and offer reassurance where needed, here’s some of the advice she shared for parents given the unfolding events in Europe.
Consider the age of the child. If a child is under 7-8, don’t say anything unless the child asks.
“Kids can’t process issues that are this complex — and they begin to worry that their mom or dad might die.”
Keep dialogue simple. If a child is 8-11-ish, he or she will probably hear about what’s going on from the news or at school — “so you may need to have a discussion.
Suggestions for any discussion that does happen: “Keep the dialogue very simple. “State who is fighting whom and (very basically) why.”
“When kids see war scenes or hear about war repeatedly, they are traumatized.
She explains: “Many parents fall into the trap of overspeaking, of giving too much information that kids can’t handle or understand.
So reassure them that the war will not come here — again, they worry about their lives and their parents’ lives more than the lives of others fighting.”
Tell them that wars have been fought for many years.
If they ask questions, answer the questions but keep it simple.
Remember, they can’t process complex situations as adults can.”
Keep news on television for a short time. “When kids see war scenes or hear about war repeatedly, they are traumatized,” said Dr. Meeker. The situation can also be magnified in their minds, she said
Avoid political and divisive discussion.
The reason for this advice? “They will go to school and parrot what their parents say about President Biden, etc. — and this will cause division no matter how old they are.
Keep kids calm. Now is the time, she urged, to keep children calm and “reassure them that everything will be OK for them and their families.”
How to support the people of Ukraine
Save the Children. The organization reports that “children in Eastern Ukraine have grown up in conflict for the past eight years, enduring violence, shelling and displacement. Without urgent de-escalation, the crisis will spiral out of control, with devastating consequences for families.”
It is an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau.
Project HOPE. The group notes that Russia’s assault on Ukraine “will force hundreds of thousands [of people] to flee their homes. Access to basic needs, health care and more are now in jeopardy.”
It notes that “emergency teams from this group in Europe are sending medical supplies and standing by to provide health screening and care for refugees.”
“Ukrainians near the conflict zones are lining up to access cash and fuel.”
It is a Better Business Bureau-accredited charity; it reports that 87% of its resources support its programs.
World Central Kitchen: Providing food for refugees on the border.
GlobalGiving. The group’s main goal, it says, “is selfless charity work in the public interest or [for] certain categories of citizens.”
It is the first and largest global crowdfunding community connecting vetted nonprofits, donors and companies, it says, in countries around the globe.
It has delivered funds to community-led organizations that are “best-suited to provide relief and long-term recovery.”
Global Giving — a BBB-accredited charity — created the Ukraine Crisis Relief fund, with a goal of raising $3 million in disaster response funding.
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