Ukrainian tanks move into the city, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Mariupol, February 24, 2022. [Reuters]

On the surface, children may appear oblivious and clueless about what is happening around them, but that does not make them ignorant or unaware. Unable to articulate and express their feelings well, you as a parent must play the role of helping them understand and speak up, especially when there is a concerning issue.

In this case, the Ukraine-Russia war. Your child may not have all the details, but with the little information they gather from adults during table talks, news and the tension in the air, their radar is able to detect that something is off. And the truth is, they are just as bothered as you are.

War is a scary thing. That alone can make you grapple with the idea of whether or not you should bring it up. And if you choose to discuss it, how do you even go about it? Well, the truth is world events affect all of us and your children should be privy to that information no matter how scary the situation may be. That is the best way to raise thoughtful world citizens who are informed and aware of their surroundings.

Reduce their anxiety by discussing the conflict and putting them at ease by assuring them. This provides an opportunity for you to know how they feel and how you can help them process those emotions. Answer their questions and set the record straight by providing factual information, which is missing with all the misinformation and disinformation on social media. A good place to start is by using a map and pointing out the two countries then explaining what is happening.

For those who are too young to understand, keep your explanation simple and stick to something they can relate to. For instance, you can say that one country is not being nice to another country then build it up from there once they comprehend. 

If they seem unbothered, keep your conversation brief. For the older children who have some knowledge and seem distressed, avoid watching violent content in the news or talking about it in their presence. Assure them in a calm voice that everything will be fine and find distractions for them to focus on, especially now that most schools have closed or are about to.