Talking to Kids About Global Conflicts: Supporting Mental Health

Mental health experts and educators in Canada are rallying together to provide guidance and support for children and youth who may be affected by the recent escalations in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Recognizing that students from various backgrounds may be closely impacted, including Jewish, Palestinian, and Israeli students, the Toronto District School Board is reaching out to parents and caregivers with resources to navigate these challenging conversations.

Rather than assuming a child’s emotions, experts suggest initiating an open-ended dialogue by asking how they feel about the situation. It is crucial to create a safe space where children can express their thoughts and fears surrounding distressing news and graphic imagery, which they may have come across on social media. Kids Help Phone, a national child and youth helpline, emphasizes the importance of allowing children to discuss their feelings related to the conflict. These conversations may also uncover other anxieties and concerns they may have in their lives.

Parents can play a supportive role by advising their children on ways to limit excessive exposure to distressing content and encouraging self-care when they do come across disturbing images. Additionally, it’s important to remind children that they have a network of trusted adults who they can turn to for support, including relatives, teachers, coaches, and helpline services.

The emotional impact of global conflicts can vary for each individual, and it is essential to provide extra support for those who may need it. By fostering open conversations, ensuring access to mental health resources, and reminding children that they are not alone, we can help them navigate their thoughts and emotions during challenging times.


How should I approach the topic of global conflicts with my child?

Initiate an open-ended conversation by asking your child how they feel about the situation. Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and fears.

What should I do if my child doesn’t want to talk about the conflict?

Respect their wishes and remind them about other trusted adults they can turn to for support, such as relatives, teachers, coaches, or helpline services.

How can I help my child limit their exposure to distressing news and imagery?

Advise your child on ways to avoid excessive exposure and create boundaries around social media consumption. Encourage activities that provide a sense of calm and well-being.

Where can I find additional support for my child’s mental health?

You can reach out to helpline services like Kids Help Phone or consult with the school’s mental health resources. They can provide further guidance and support tailored to your child’s specific needs.