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Resources from the Child Mind Institute

Resources from the Child Mind Institute
Our hearts go out to the families caught in this terrifying situation in the Middle East — especially those whose loved ones, including children, have been killed, injured, or kidnapped.

And we know that the trauma goes well beyond those who’ve suffered an immediate loss. There are families and children far from the bloodshed who must now struggle with fear and horror as they learn about another war, on another front. Once again, our sense of security has been diminished. As the violence continues and dominates news reports, more children will be exposed to it. Children will be understandably disturbed and need both explanation and reassurance.

At the Child Mind Institute we offer guidance to educators, parents and caregivers struggling to support children, whether they are at risk of violence themselves or trying to absorb upsetting news of events at a distance.

    • Take Action: If your students know people who are exposed to acts of terrorism and threat during war, you can assure them that you will reach out and provide support and advocacy and share any ways that they can get involved as well. Identifying actions to take can make kids feel less helpless and counteract worries that they were too passive in a state of emergency.
    • Be Mindful: Your students are highly attuned to adults’ moods and are sensitive to messages teachers and parents may unintentionally send about their safety. They have less knowledge than you for putting events in context. Remember some of the things that you believed as a child and imagine how your students may be reacting to your words and your moods.
    • Exercise Control: In communications with parents, you may want to remind them that news channel coverage can provide unfiltered access to the horror caused by terrorism and war. Limiting students’ exposure to disturbing imagery helps — witnessing these scenes can provoke anxious responses and panic. Be intentional about what you share with your students based on their age and their capacity to understand these events.
    • Maintain Routines: It can be very helpful to maintain standard and predictable daily schedules. Answer the questions your students ask and allow them to go back to the things they enjoy. Involvement in play and other engaging activities serves as a therapeutic distraction from the horrors they are being exposed to.

We can’t always protect children from bad things happening, but how we handle traumatic events and the exposure to disturbing information can help them handle their fear and process these events in a healthier way.

Our detailed guides to helping children of different ages handle traumatic events is available here, in 16 languages, including English and Hebrew.

We hope these resources will offer some guidance and comfort in this tragic situation.


Harold S. Koplewicz, MD

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
President and Medical Director
Child Mind Institute

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