Talking To Children About Israel
In these challenging times, it can be difficult to find the right words of comfort to offer those impacted, not to mention the proper support for young children. Below are some pointers on how to respond to young children should they bring this up at home, followed by some articles you can read for further insight.
- First and foremost, every morning, take your own emotional temperature. How can you arrange your day to support your needs?
- Check on your friends and family. Are they eating, drinking enough, sleeping? Be there to support one another. Connection is critical during these times.
- As with any topic, when speaking to children, always follow their lead.
- If you are speaking with your child about the war in Israel, ask yourself, “What is my intention?” “What do they need from me?” “What am I trying to accomplish?”
- Avoid using euphemisms, analogies, and metaphors. It’s okay to say the words “war” or “death.” For children it can feel scarier when they feel adults are hiding something.
- If a child asks a question, you can start by asking them what they already know about it. If it’s something simple, you can share facts. For example, if they ask, “What is war?” You can say, “It is when countries are fighting.”
- You can also acknowledge the feeling behind the question. “Wow. You’ve been thinking a lot about that. How do you feel asking that question?” Think together with the child and focus on the feeling behind it.
- You don’t have to have all of the answers. It’s okay to acknowledge, “You are thinking a lot about this. That’s a wonderful question. I don’t know the answer. I wonder. What do you think?” or “I’m wondering who we can ask about that. Maybe a Rabbi might have an answer.”
- Limit media exposure or having the tv on in the background. These repetitive images are frightening and confusing, and little eyes and ears are ALWAYS watching and listening.
- As Mr. Rogers always said, “Focus on the helpers.”
- Keep ambulances, doctor’s kits, police officers, and doll house figures out so children can play out anything they are hearing on the news. Try not to shut them down if there is more talk of death and dying, but rather be there to help facilitate it.
- How to Talk With Kids About Tragedies & Other Traumatic News Events – HealthyChildren.org
- Here’s How to Talk to Your Kids About the Violence in Israel and Gaza – Kveller
JUF’s Israel Emergency Fund
It’s so important, now more than ever, to come together as a community. Our partners at the Jewish Federation of Chicago and JCC Association of North America are both working to provide support on the ground as well as to keep our community informed. JUF is immediately advancing $5.5 million to our partners – JAFI and JDC – who are already providing emergency assistance to victims in Israel. JUF has also opened an Israel Emergency Fund to funnel critical support from our community to the Israeli people. If you’d like to show your support, you can make a donation to the Israel Emergency Fund.