Talking with Children About the War in Israel


Children can have strong feelings and emotional responses to world events. These reactions can vary, and the signs are not always obvious on the surface. As with adults, children react and recover differently, and not all children will be affected.

With the current events in Israel, it’s normal for your child to be feeling distressed, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, angry, sad, helpless and confused. These are normal reactions to the situation currently unfolding.

Limit social media

You might notice your child seeking out or simply being flooded with information on social media. This information is likely to be skewed towards particular opinions, and has been created for the purpose of hooking people in and clocking up ‘views’. Collaboratively, try limiting their use of and exposure to social media/newsfeeds. While it’s normal to be sucked into obsessively looking at our social media/newsfeeds, there is a lot of misinformation out there and it can contribute to heightened levels of anxiety and distress. Chat with your child about other techniques which might assist them with limiting their exposure. For instance, switching off notifications, deciding on times of the day when it’s ok to be checking these sites, and setting time limits around usage.  Encourage your child not to be looking at social media/newsfeeds before bed or first thing in the morning.

Empower them in conversations

Empower your child to identify when a conversation is steering towards being unhelpful for their emotional state and reassure them that it’s ok to change the focus by saying for example, “I’m sorry, I find talking about this doesn’t help me right now, do you mind if we change the topic?”.  Also remember that children frequently overhear the conversations that adults are having around them.


Children pick up on our emotional cues and responses. Check-in on your child in an age-appropriate way and allow them the space to share with you their thoughts and feelings. Try to remain as calm as possible. Validate what they are feeling and speak to them in a reassuring way. It’s ok to share with them that you are feeling scared too. This helps your child to understand that you are going through this together. Remind them that they are safe and reassure your child that there are many people working hard to stop the current and to find peaceful solution.

Aim to maintain your usual routine

As much as possible, aim to maintain your usual routine. Sleep, eating at regular intervals, exercise and connecting with our families/supports are important. These activities help to ground us and connect us.

Focusing on a sense of hope

We know that our belief in our ability to cope and having a sense of hope are important in getting through challenging times. Encourage your child to identify their own strengths and abilities to cope. Give them hope by helping them identify “the helpers” (i.e., those who are working to support those in need). You may also want to support your children in taking action. For example, via supporting fundraising initiatives or making cards for those who have been injured.

If you or someone that you know needs support, JewishCare and Jewish House are offering counselling to community members affected by the current crisis. For support during office hours, phone JewishCare on 1300 133 660. If our lines are busy, please leave a message and we will phone you back. For afterhours support, phone Jewish House on 1300 544 357.

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