Supporting children in the difficult time of war

March 3, 2022
  1. *Be there for them*: Remember, we are the primary source of support for our children. Therefore, the feeling of our loving presence is the most important “safety thermostat” for their souls. Being there for them is about touching and hugging, about doing something together and about a fairy tale together: Wherever we are, in bed or in a bomb shelter… It’s about a loving look, it’s about attention and love… And it’s also about sensitivity when a child needs it and when they want to be alone. 

Collection of fairy tales to listen to:, you can also download several books on the website of the Old Lion Publishing House at

  1. *Set an example*: Most of the ways children use to cope with challenges are learned through watching and imitating us. So it is important to be aware of this. And to share, to talk to them about what helps us… Of course, this does not mean that we have to be a “perfect” example, because resilience is not about never falling down, but about getting up again and again…
  2. *Communicate*: It is so important for children that we help them understand what is going on and how we can survive this war – at the macro level as a nation and at the micro level as a family. It means talking to children with respect for their inner wisdom, desires and need to understand. It also means listening to what they say and listening to what they don’t say… And answering – as best we can – because we don’t always know the answers and it is important to be honest here to. It doesn’t mean comforting children with “pseudo-optimistic” scenarios either, because we are aware that the road to Victory might be long and there can be a lot of pain and loss. But it means giving them the faith that with the Truth we will definitely and inevitably win and our country will be free and happy!
  3. *Engage*: We don’t know how long these challenges of war will last – but the time of life is precious – and we must live, no matter what – we must Live. And of course, we can’t help but follow the news, but we don’t need to do that all the time – we need to focus on useful actions. For children, of course, these actions are versatile and depend on where you are at the moment: at home, in a bomb shelter and so on: learning, drawing, reading/listening to fairy tales, playing (in a variety of ways, and not just on the phone – there are so many relationship games), helping around the house, praying, doing good deeds, working out, etc. Useful activities bear good fruit, they focus attention and help to integrate the energy of stress. And it is important not only for children, but also for us, adults…
  4. *Recover*: This ordeal can be long and take up a lot of our energy, so we will need time to recuperate on a regular basis. Both we and our children. That is why it is so important to have those activities that recharge your batteries (just like charging your phone) in your daily routine when the stress level is higher, you need to charge more often and have an additional “power bank”. So let’s make sure that the children’s daily routine includes sleep, healthy food, time for play, pets, physical activity, and daily contact with something that is the source of Light (fairy tales, stories, beauty, people full of light, etc.). They should be reminded that in these dark times there is Light – truth, love, courage – it will inevitably win because it is invincible…

P.S. Research shows that children do not necessarily have mental health problems when faced with ordeal, but may demonstrate “post-traumatic growth” – and this will largely depend on the support of adults. They can grow in resilience (psychological resilience), wisdom, gratitude, the ability to build deep relationships, know what is most important in life… So let them grow up to be just like that – our children!

The article is based on the findings of the Institute of Mental Health at the Ukrainian Catholic University