Clowns Without Borders UK

How To Talk To Children About War?

A smiling child rests their head against a smiling clown - during a workshop with Ukrainian children - Romania 2022

Support children to express their feelings.

Hearing about war may bring up feelings like anger, sadness, fear or anxiety. We can we can give children the time and space to express their thoughts and feelings. Validating children’s feelings with empathy and acknowledgement can be a relief for kids.

Encourage children ask questions.

At Clowns Without Borders UK we believe children a capable and competent. When we fully listen to children, it help us understand what they know and what they are worried about. It’s a way for us to fully know children. When we listen, we can also correct any misinformation they might have heard.

Keep it simple.

The level of detail you go into should be appropriate for your child’s age and development. If a child is young, use short sentences and words that they will understand. Older children may want more details but too much information might be overwhelming. If it’s appropriate you could find out more information together. UNICEF is a great place to start for older kids or this short film from News Round

Reassure a child they are safe.

Children have a right to know what’s going on in the world but it is also our job to protect them from anxiety. Letting children know it is not their responsibility to fix things can provide comfort. We can remind children that adults around the world are working together to find a peaceful solution.

Support children’s sense of control.

We can help children feel a sense of control by sharing practical ways they can help. Maybe they can sign a petition, start a fundraiser or write to a decision maker. They can get creative and create a poster or write a poem to share at school.

Take care of yourself.

When we feel calm and in control so do our children. Make sure to take care of yourself as you support your child in their journey of understanding.