The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District is advising parents how to talk to their children on world events. (iStock photo)

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District is advising parents how to talk to their children on world events. (iStock photo)

Talking to children about world events: advice from Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District

Listen, tell the truth, but keep it age appropriate

Listen to children and assure them they are in a safe place are two of the recommendations the school district is making to parents when talking to their kids about world events at home – like the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Shannon Derinzy, deputy superintendent of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District, posted a letter to parents and caregivers last week, giving the advice.

She said current events in Ukraine can be upsetting for both adults and children and that it is important to remember children look to adults in their lives to make them feel safe and make sense of the world.

“We are reaching out to share with you some strategies and resources that will help guide your conversations with your child and will help them put scary events into perspective,” said Derinzy in the letter.

Derinzy said parents should limit their children’s exposure to news stories and encourage older children to rely on reputable news sources. Parents should also talk with their children about the impact of media overload, she said.

Parents need to acknowledge their feelings about the events that are taking place, especially feelings of fear or concern and reassure their children they are in a safe place.

“Acknowledging our own feelings will also give children a model for how to express and process their strong emotions. Don’t brush off your child’s concerns but present hopeful information with the truth,” said Derinzy.

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Listen to children’s concerns. Ask them questions about what they have heard – this can help parents understand if a child is curious, concerned, or fearful – and allow a parent to gauge what the child needs to feel safe and supported.

Tell the truth, advised Derinzy, and tell the truth – but keep conversations age appropriate.

And encourage empathy and compassion, she noted. Reminding children that some people they know might be impacted by what is happening, like fellow classmates that may have family from Ukraine, Russia, or neighbouring countries.

Tragedies and times of sadness and grief can be opportunities to teach compassion. They give people a chance to be kind and caring,” noted Derinzy.

Derinzy added that the district will continue to prioritize mental health and well-being of students.

“If you feel your child is being negatively impacted and may need additional support, please reach out to your school counsellor who can recommend supports and services,” she added.

For more resources on the topic go to

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