Early years community corner: How do I talk to my child about war?

Thursday, April 14, 2022

This month there was only one event that could be the focus. The war and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Below, are some of the social media posts and books being shared to help support you when talking to children on this deeply troubling and challenging topic.

In March on the Early Years Educator website, we published an article containing some helpful links to advice and books that could be used to discuss the situation with children and support adults to answer any questions the children may have. We also included links to charities and organisations which you could donate to, who are supporting those children and families who are facing a humanitarian crisis. The article is available on our website and is being updated regularly (see article here). 


(Instagram) shared this post ‘How to talk to your child about what's happening in Ukraine’ in the immediate aftermath of the beginning of the invasion. She details six things to consider for both yourself and your children when deciding how to talk to children about the war and what to say. These can be adapted dependent on the understanding of the children involved. She highlights the importance of validating their feelings, it's vital that children ‘know it's ok to feel worried or anxious’ as well as letting the children take the lead. Be sure to allow the children the space and freedom to share with you what, if anything, they already know or have seen/heard.





One impact of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is the number of refugees fleeing the country. Over the coming weeks we are likely to hear about and be engaged in, supporting refugees and their families. This could be in our settings or in the wider community. The word ‘refugee’ is one that it is likely many children will be unfamiliar with, however for adults and children to enable the newest members of our communities to feel welcome, valued and respected it is vital that we support children to understand what being a refugee means. On social media there have been a few book recommendations to support this.


‘What is a refugee?’ by ‘Elise Gravel’


Social media users have been sharing this book to help support children this month, including @theartofearlyyears_ and myself. The book explains ‘who are refugees? Why are they called that word? Why do they need to leave their country?’ It is a simple but effective way to begin this timely conversation with children.


‘My name is not refugee’ by ‘Kate Milner’


This is another book which has been shared in the comments on social media posts on supporting children to understand the war in Ukraine, it is a powerful and poignant reminder for us all that children who are forced to leave their homes may be given the label ‘refugees’ but they are after all just children.



‘Omar, the bees and me’ by ‘Helen Mortimer’ and ‘Katie Cottle’


The third and final book which has been shared on social media also provides an opportunity to donate to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), @owletpress, the books publisher shared the book on Instagram and said for every purchase they would be donating to UNHCR. The story itself is about ‘when Omar brings in some honey cake that reminds him of his beekeeping grandpa (who lives a long way away)…Omar and Maisie discover a shared family passion as their friendship blossoms alongside the flowers.’


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