Children During Times of International Conflict
R-7 schools seek to assist students with family members deployed
R-7 staff members are aware that several families in the
school district are dealing with military deployment of family members.
If your child has a relative who has been deployed or will be deployed
due to military action, please let your school staff know if you believe
we can be helpful. School staff members have developed plans to help
students deal with times of national and international crisis. Several
schools have established support groups for children whose parents or
other family members have been or will be deployed.
Dealing with Unsettling Times
Information condensed from National Association of School Psychologists
The military conflict involving United States troops may be unsettling to both children and
adults. Children may be confused or frightened by the news and will look
to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Adults can help
children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and
security. Here are additional tips for parents and other adults that
may be helpful.
What Parents Can Do
- Model calm and control. Children take their emotional cues from the
significant adults in their lives. Avoid appearing anxious or frightened.
- Reassure children that they are safe and so are the other important
adults in their lives.
- Let children know that it is okay to be concerned. Let children talk
about their feelings and help put them into perspective. Be honest
with them when they ask questions while not giving young children more
information than necessary.
- Observe children’s emotional state. Depending
on their age, children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes
in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s
level of anxiety or discomfort. Children will express their emotions
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced
with reassurances that the daily structures of their lives will not
change. Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more
vocal in asking questions but will also need reassurance and structure.
They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Upper
middle school and high school students will have strong and
varying opinions while at the same time looking to their parents
for guidance and reassurance. For all children, encourage them
to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Be a good listener!
- Make time to talk with your children.
- Limit the amount of your child’s television viewing
of coverage of these events. If they must watch, watch with them for a brief
time; then turn the set off.
- Maintain a "normal" routine. Stick to your family’s
normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc.
- Spend extra time reading or playing quiet
games with your children before bed. These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness
and security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time
tucking them in. Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for
- Safeguard your children’s physical health. Stress can take
a physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure your children
get appropriate sleep, exercise and nutrition.
- Consider thinking hopeful thoughts or praying
for the people directly involved in the conflict and their families. It
may be a good time to take your children to a place of worship,
write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express their
- Find out what resources your school has in
place to help children cope. Lee’s
Summit R-7 Schools are a good place for children to regain a
sense of normalcy and routine. Being with their friends and teachers
can help. Schools also have a plan for making counseling available
to children and adults who need it.