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War in Iraq

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Tips for helping Decrease a Child's Stress and Anxiety About War

According to Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D., a psychologist with, these are important points to remember:

  1. Reassure children about their personal safety. Help them understand that there are many thousands of people around the country who are working to make sure the country is safe.

  2. Be aware of your own emotional reactions around your children. It is all right to share your feelings, but you must also show your children that you are in control of your emotions. Do not look to your children for your emotional support.

  3. Keep to a child's regular schedule as much as possible.

  4. Don't let children watch too much television. Hearing about the events and seeing the tragic images over and over again will certainly raise their anxiety.

  5. Make an effort to talk to your child more than usual. It doesn't have to be about recent events. Talking about anything at all makes children feel connected to their parents and this in turn brings a sense of security.

  6. Seek help when you need it. There are many resources for families and children in your community. Don't hesitate to seek them out.

  7. Encourage children to participate in helping activities like collecting food or clothing for those in need.
Liberty Activities

Dr. Shapiro also recommends that children be given the opportunity to participate in helping activities like collecting food and clothing for those in need. Your newspaper is the perfect place for classrooms and families alike to read about opportunities to contribute to the local community.

Here are some "Liberty Activities!" They give children a chance to participate in the community involvement and to discuss the rights that make up the very fabric of our country.

Thank You, Community Heroes
Every day, people in your community do things that help others. Look through the newspaper for pictures and words about heroes and make a "Thankful for Our Community Heroes" poster. Ask a local business to display it.

Totally Talented Me!
Look through the newspaper for words and/or pictures that show or describe your talents. Cut these out and make a "Totally Talented Me!" poster. Then, look through the newspaper for ways your talents could be of service to others in the community.

How to Help
Look through the newspaper and find at least five organizations that help people in your area. Call one of the groups and list ways they help people. Find out if there is a way you can participate.

Energy Savers
Look through the newspaper for pictures of things that need oil or electricity to run. How could the same job be accomplished with something that didn't need oil or electricity to run?

What is Free Speech?
Look through the newspaper and find examples of people exercising their right to free speech. Discuss why it is it important for people to have this right.

Web sites for Helping Children Cope with War and Terrorism
The Save the Children Organization provides an article entitled "Ten Tips to Help Children Cope With War and Terrorism" written by Dr. Neil Boothby, Save the Children's senior advisor of children in emergencies and crisis.
Connect for Kids has compiled a long list of articles and resources for helping children of different ages deal with concerns over war and terrorism. Features include how to identify anxious children and how to answer some of the hardest questions.
Unicef Publications has a book called Helping Children Cope with the Stresses of War: A Manual for Parents and Teachers. An order form is available at this Web site.
Parenting magazine gives advice for parents of the K-6 age group called Strategies for Parents to Help Children Cope with Fears of War & Terrorism as well as an article on Talking with Children about War & Terrorism.
In an article on Helping Children Cope with Disaster, Kelly B. Cartwright, Ph.D. explains that to best help our children, we must recognize how children of different ages understand war-related events.
About Our gives advice by Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D. about Talking to Kids About Terrorism or Acts of War. He addresses questions such as "Should I tell my child my opinion" and "What should I do if we know someone in the area of conflict or terrorism?"

Sites and ideas Courtesy of Vickie Whiting at "Kids Scoop."

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