As the world watches the shocking developments in Eastern Europe, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian community here in Toronto.
This is a very difficult time for some of our students, staff and their families, who have loved ones in Ukraine and are worried, wondering what will happen next. It is our sincere hope that these senseless attacks will end very soon, that peace will prevail and that the people of Ukraine can resume their lives free from the threat of an armed invasion of their country.
In the days ahead, many of us will be confronted by the significant media coverage of the invasion and may experience a wide range of reactions and emotions. TDSB Professional Support Services staff have prepared tips that may be helpful for parents/guardians whose children are experiencing difficulties:
- Bring up the topic at a time and place where a discussion can occur. If there are distractions, a shortage of time or if either you or your child are too tired or busy, it is likely the conversation will be interrupted.
- Begin by listening. Let your child tell you what they believe they know, how they learned it and how they are feeling. Don’t rush to correct or reassure. Allow them to finish their thoughts. Open-ended questions are better than specific ones. It is better to ask, “How are you feeling about what happened?” than “Are you scared because of what happened?” You can be a bit more specific if general questions fail.
- Respond to what your child tells you. Their concerns may be specific or general, concrete or abstract, closely related to the events or related very little. Address what they are concerned about. Don’t overload children with information or solutions. Talk to them with ideas they can handle at their age. If you help them with their concerns today they will likely share more in the future.
- Limit exposure to media coverage as it can become overwhelming.
- Be aware that new stresses may open old wounds. When a child is confronted with a crisis, losses and upsets from the past may be remembered. The child may or may not wish to talk about these old issues.
- Talk about specific things you can do to make your child feel secure.
- Children deal with stress in many different ways and at different paces. While children may not wish to talk today, they may wish to talk in weeks or days to come. Follow up discussions may be helpful.
Parents/Guardians and students are encouraged to contact their school principal for more information about additional supports through our Professional Support Services department, which will be there to help students with any challenges they may be experiencing.
Director of Education