Even the royals grapple with the problem: How to talk to children about the Ukraine war

On Wednesday 9 March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London to meet with members of the Ukrainian community and volunteers to hear how the social club is helping during the crisis.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
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Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the ongoing war has been at the forefront of many people’s thoughts – including children.

During the visit, Prince William revealed that their two eldest children, George, eight, and Charlotte, six, have been asking them questions about the Ukraine war. ‘Ours have been coming home asking all about it,’ William said. ‘They are obviously talking about it with their friends at school.’

READ MORE: This is how you can help support people in Ukraine

Kate Middleton and Prince William
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It can be difficult to know exactly how to broach such a sensitive and complex subject with children. Education expert at The Profs, Richard Evans, has shared his tips for how to talk to children about the current world news.

‘With the headlines seemingly dominated by war, disease, and other apocalyptic events, it is natural for your child to have questions and concerns. Such conversations can be educational whilst also allowing you to deepen your bond with your child.

‘Most importantly, listen to your child and let them know that you want to help them to make sense of the world because this is an important part of their development. To lessen any anxiety, offer to chat about the news in a comfortable environment such as a reading nook or beanbag. Let them ask any questions that they have – and treat each one with seriousness to show that you care about their views. Try not to be dismissive, judgemental or – worst of all – laugh at their questions or fears.

Women and children leave Ukraine
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Richard suggests researching the basics ahead of your conversation so that you are prepared to answer honestly and calmly so as not to increase anxiety.

‘It is tricky to gauge the appropriate level of information to give, and this depends on age and maturity. Typically, children care most about their immediate family, friends and classmates, and teachers. If appropriate, reassure them that none of these people are in any danger. Many children (and adults) want to know that there are good, competent people working hard to solve these challenges and that good will prevail all.

‘Lastly, support their efforts to make the world a better place: show them how to make a charitable donation or write a letter to their MP or else a supportive social media post for those who are suffering. We all need inspiration from the next generation.’

READ MORE: How to cope with the endlessly bleak news cycle